Ioan Lloyd is set to make his first-ever Gallagher Premiership start as an out-half having made his six previous starts in the league for Bristol at either full-back or left-wing. The 19-year-old gets the No10 jersey after Callum Sheedy spent the earlier part of the week in training with Wales.
Lloyd did start one match before for Bristol as their No10, a European Challenge Cup tie in November 2019 against Zebre, but Friday night versus Bath will be the first time he has been chosen to start in that role in the Premiership by Pat Lam.
“Fly-half is his No1 position. He can play full-back but ten is his main position,” said Lam about a youngster whose other league starts this season have come on the wing against Newcastle and Harlequins and at full-back versus Worcester.
Capped for the first time by Wales during the recent Autumn Nations Cup, Lloyd was excluded when Wayne Pivac last week announced his squad for the 2021 Guinness Six Nations. Lam, though, wasn’t reading too much into that admission, suggesting a moment such as last week was all part of a journey that will be long and successful at international level for Bristol back Lloyd.
“Wayne has made the right choice,” continued the Bears boss. “The clarity as a 19-year-old going in was for them to get a look at him and for him to get a taste of what is there, but remember they have got some world-class players there as well.
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) January 27, 2021
“Ioan was able to go and experience what it is, get to know the Alun Wyn Joneses, the Liam Williams and he loved it. It was a taste of it but there it’s only part of his development. Like when we played him in the Bath game when he first came up and he was just out of school, that’s not that he has made it. All it has done is aided in his development. He is going to be a world-class player but all of these moments are part of that journey.
“The good thing is he got a taste, knew the things he did well. Wayne was very clear with him what he did well but he was also clear with him and with us about what he wanted him to improve on. There is no doubt that he is going to be back.”
Lloyd is one of six changes to Lam’s starting XV following the January 9 Premiership win away to defending champions Exeter. Henry Purdy and Andy Uren are the other changes in the backline while in the pack, Chris Vui, John Afoa and Dan Thomas earn starts.
Max Malins, Harry Randall and Ben Earl are unavailable due to international duty with England, while Kyle Sinckler is serving the first game of a two-match ban. Sheedy is included among the replacements having been released from Wales camp.
BRISTOL (vs Bath, Friday)
15. Charles Piutau; 14. Luke Morahan, 13. Semi Radradra, 12. Piers O’Conor, 11. Henry Purdy; 10. Ioan Lloyd, 9. Andy Uren; 1. Jake Woolmore, 2. Bryan Byrne, 3. John Afoa, 4. Dave Attwood, 5. Chris Vui, 6. Steven Luatua (c), 7. Dan Thomas, Nathan Hughes. Reps: 16. Will Capon, 17. Yann Thomas, 18. Jake Armstrong, 19. Ed Holmes, 20. Jake Heenan, 21. Tom Kessell, 22. Callum Sheedy, 23. Alapati Leiua.
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) January 28, 2021
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