Preview: Bristol v Gloucester

Preview: Bristol v Gloucester

Steven Luatua returns to action when the Bears take on West Country rivals Gloucester Rugby at Ashton Gate in round eight of the Gallagher Premiership on Saturday (2pm KO).

The Samoan international makes only his second appearance of the season in the back row as Pat Lam makes two changes to the side narrowly beaten at Saracens last weekend.

Harry Thacker returns at hooker, with Jake Heenan and George Kloska coming in on the bench against the Cherry and Whites.

The Gloucester Rugby side to face Bristol Bears in a crunch West Country derby at Ashton Gate tomorrow afternoon has been revealed.

Director of Rugby, George Skivington, has been boosted by the return of Ruan Ackermann and Lloyd Evans from injury, a welcome return for both.


TV: Live on TNT Sports, 2pm kick-off

Referee: Jack Makepeace

Assistant Referees: Harry Walbaum & Paul Dix

TMO: David Rose

Bristol Bears: 15. Max Malins (21 apps), 14. Gabriel Ibitoye (27 apps), 13. Virimi Vakatawa (7 apps), 12. Benhard Janse van Rensburg (10 apps), 11. Rich Lane (25 apps), 10. Callum Sheedy (160 apps), 9. Harry Randall (111 apps); 1. Ellis Genge (37 apps), 2. Harry Thacker (109 apps), 3. Kyle Sinckler (47 apps), 4. James Dun (22 apps), 5. Joe Batley (49 apps), 6. Steven Luatua (115 apps), 7. Dan Thomas (137 apps), 8. Fitz Harding (60 apps) (c).

Replacements: 16. Gabriel Oghre (3 apps), 17. Jake Woolmore (139 apps), 18. George Kloska (37 apps), 19. Josh Caulfield (11 apps), 20. Jake Heenan (100 apps), 21. Kieran Marmion (11 apps), 22. James Williams (26 apps), 23. Kalaveti Ravouvou (1 app).

Gloucester Rugby: 15. Lloyd Evans*, 14. Louis Rees-Zammit*, 13. Max Llewellyn, 12. Mark Atkinson, 11. Ollie Thorley*, 10. Santi Carreras, 9. Stephen Varney*; 1. Mayco Vivas, 2. Santi Socino, 3. Fraser Balmain, 4. Arthur Clark*, 5. Matias Alemanno, 6. Ruan Ackermann, 7. Lewis Ludlow* (C), 8. Jack Clement*

Replacements: 16. George McGuigan, 17. Harry Elrington, 18. Jamal Ford-Robinson, 19. Freddie Clarke*, 20. Ben Donnell, 21. Micky Young, 22. Louis Hillman-Cooper*, 23. Josh Hathaway*

Oval Insights

Bristol Bears

  • Virimi Vakatawa has made as many offloads as any other player this season (ten). Teammates Rich Lane and Gabriel Ibitoye have also made nine and eight respectively.
  • Callum Sheedy has assisted more tries this season than any other player (six), four of which have been with the boot. He has also assisted the second-most breaks (nine) – six with passes, three with kicks.
  • 13.1% of the Bears’ carries have ended with passes – more than any other team.
  • The Bears have won fewer scrum penalties than any other team so far this season (ten).

Gloucester Rugby

  • Seb Atkinson has assisted eight breaks so far this season – the third-most in the Premiership and more than any other midfielder.
  • Jack Clement has made more dominant tackles than any other player so far this season (29), including 17 in Rounds 6 and 7. He has also made the most post-contact metres (114) and won the joint-most turnovers (eight) this season.
  • Gloucester have scored the joint-fewest tries in the Premiership (16).
  • Gloucester made just 169 carry metres against Leicester Tigers – fewer than any other team in Round 7 and their lowest total in a match so far this season.

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