Experienced Georgia hooker Shalva Mamukashvili is set to make his Leicester debut on Wednesday after he was selected on the bench for their Gallagher Premiership trip to Bristol. 

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Signed earlier this year, Mamukashvili is the first Georgian player to agree on a move to Welford Road and he has now been included in a matchday squad that is much-changed from the Leicester selection that bowed out of the Challenge Cup semi-finals at the hands of Toulon last Saturday night. 

Mamukashvili made his Test debut for Georgia in 2011 and played at the 2015 and 2019 World Cups. He began his career as a 17-year-old with Kochebi, where he gained his first international recognition, before moving to Armia Tbilisi.

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In 2014, he joined Sale Sharks then had stints with Glasgow Warriors and in France with Montpellier, Toulon and Carcassonne.

Thom Smith will captain Leicester for the second time in just his ninth senior appearance for the club, with the support of three vice-captains at Ashton Gate, Luke Wallace, Ben White and Freddie Steward. Facundo Gigena, who came off the bench in the Challenge Cup, starts at loosehead prop and is joined by Jake Kerr and Joe Heyes in the starting front row.

Tigers head coach Steve Borthwick said: “With it being a short turnaround, we have made changes to the squad but each of the players selected knows the privilege it is to represent Leicester Tigers and will be prepared for Wednesday’s match.

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“There are several guys backing up from last weekend’s European fixture and a mix of senior players, as well as some exciting youngsters in this group which includes ten Tigers academy graduates. Bristol have been playing very well and are in a position to push for a place in the Premiership finals.”

While Leicester were beaten in their European semi-final, Bristol beat Bordeaux in the other semi-final. Centre Sam Bedlow is one of ten changes to the side that progressed in the Challenge Cup.

Only Callum Sheedy and Alapati Leiua retain their places in the backline, as Niyi Adeolokun is set for his first home outing in a Bears jersey. In the pack, Steven Luatua captains the side from the back row, while Nathan Hughes and Kyle Sinckler are also retained from Friday’s starting line-up.

BRISTOL: 15. Ioan Lloyd; 14. Niyi Adeolokun, 13. Piers O’Conor, 12. Sam Bedlow, 11. Alapati Leiua; 10. Callum Sheedy, 9. Andy Uren; 1. Yann Thomas, 2. Bryan Byrne, 3. Kyle Sinckler, 4. Dave Attwood, 5. Joe Joyce, 6. Steven Luatua (capt), 7. Dan Thomas, 8. Nathan Hughes. Reps: 16. Harry Thacker, 17. Max Lahiff, 18. Jake Woolmore, 19. Ed Holmes, 20. Jake Heenan, 21. Harry Randall, 22. Harry Ascherl, 23. Semi Radradra.

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LEICESTER: 15. Freddie Steward; 14. Harry Potter, 13. Dan Kelly, 12. George Worth, 11. Harry Simmons; 10. Zack Henry, 9. Ben White; 1. Facundo Gigena, 2. Jake Kerr, 3. Joe Heyes, 4. Cameron Henderson, 5. Blake Enever, 6. Ollie Chessum, 7. Luke Wallace, 8. Thom Smith (capt). Reps: 16. Shalva Mamukashvili, 17. Ryan Bower, 18. Nephi Leatigaga, 19. Sam Lewis, 20. Jordan Coghlan, 21. Jack van Poortvliet, 22. Johnny McPhillips, 23. David Williams.

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