Charles Piutau is set to play his first game for Bristol Bears since injuring himself last October, as Pat Lam’s side take on Newcastle Falcons. The All Black is one of seven changes to the side.
England prop Kyle Sinckler returned to camp early from mandated leave for a Covid test and then took part in the captains run to be listed among the replacements.
Earlier this week, Bears received their first positive result for a player since testing began in July. Despite all other players in the squad receiving negative results, the club followed Covid-19 competition protocols to isolate all front row players who featured in the Matchday squad versus Harlequins.
As a result, Peter McCabe, George Kloska and Jake Armstrong form a new look front row, with all three set for first Premiership starts.
Meanwhile, Ed Holmes, Ben Earl, Dan Thomas, Siale Piutau and Max Malins are all provided rest weeks. Andy Uren is recalled to the backline, while Joe Joyce and Jake Heenan are also named in the starting line-up.
The Bears are also boosted by the return of Luke Morahan to the replacements, while Academy scholar hooker Aaron Thompson and Integrated Academy prop Andrew Turner are also named in the 23-man squad and could make competitive debuts.
Bristol Bears team to face Newcastle Falcons:
15. Charles Piutau
14. Siva Naulago
13. Semi Radradra
12. Piers O’Conor
11. Ioan Lloyd
10. Callum Sheedy
9. Andy Uren
1. Peter McCabe
2. George Kloska
3. Jake Armstrong
4. Dave Attwood
5. Joe Joyce
6. Steven Luatua (c)
7. Jake Heenan
8. Nathan Hughes
REPLACEMENTS: 16. Aaron Thompson, 17. Andrew Turner, 18. Kyle Sinckler, 19. John Hawkins, 20. Fitz Harding, 21. Harry Randall, 22. Alapati Leiua, 23. Luke Morahan.
UNAVAILABLE: Bryan Byrne, Will Capon, Harry Thacker, Jake Woolmore, Yann Thomas, John Afoa, Max Lahiff, Chris Vui, Ed Holmes, Ben Earl, Dan Thomas, Chris Cook, Sam Bedlow, Siale Piutau, Henry Purdy, Max Malins.
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