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Piutau's debut moves step closer

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World's highest paid player moves a step closer to his long-awaited debut

Reportedly rugby’s highest paid player, Bristol Bears haven’t had much bang for their buck so far from Charles Piutau.

The full-back hasn’t played a competitive match for the Gallagher Premiership club so far due to a shoulder injury.

That may be about to change with the former All Black named in Bristol’s squad for their Premiership Rugby Cup game with local rivals Gloucester.

The Bears make eleven changes from the side that suffered defeat to Northampton in the opening round of the competition. Piutau is set to make his debut if called upon from the bench.

Piutau was one of Bristol’s marquee signings for their return to the Premiership, to add to the likes of Steven Luatua and Ian Madigan, who helped steer the club out of the Championship.

The former Wasps and Ulster full-back picked up his shoulder injury 13 minutes after arriving on the pitch in Bristol’s final preseason friendly against Connacht.

“These Premiership Cup clashes are an ideal opportunity to test combinations and build our game as we approach a busy period of league fixtures at the end of the month,” said head coach Pat Lam.

“There is the added impetus on Friday night of a derby game in front of our home supporters against a very talented Gloucester side. It’s pleasing to welcome a group of guys back from injury and we can expect a few more returning to fitness over the next week or so.”

Lewis Thiede recovers from a knee injury to be listed among the replacements for the first time since September.

Bristol Bears team to face Gloucester Rugby on Friday, November 2nd (7.45pm KO):

15. Luke Morahan; 14. Tom Pincus, 13. Piers O’Conor, 12. Sam Bedlow, 11. Ryan Edwards; 10. Callum Sheedy (c), 9. Andy Uren; 1. Jack Cosgrove, 2. Tom Lindsay, 3. Nicky Thomas, 4. John Hawkins, 5. Sam Jeffries, 6. James Dun, 7. Dan Thomas, 8. Nick Haining.

Replacements: 16. Shaun Malton, 17. Jake Woolmore, 18. Lewis Thiede, 19. Aly Muldowney, 20. Jake Heenan, 21. Harry Randall, 22. Tiff Eden, 23. Charles Piutau.

You may also like: Ali Williams Part I: The AB’s ethos and lessons from the ’07 World Cup

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World's highest paid player moves a step closer to his long-awaited debut