BEARS NEWS Bedlow centre of attention for Bristol

Bristol Bears light logoSam Bedlow makes his first Premiership start for Bristol Bears as they bid to roar back against defending champions Saracens at Ashton Gate today (1730).

The 23-year-old former Sale centre is one of five changes to the side that suffered a 26-19 defeat against Bath at Twickenham last Saturday. Bury-born Bedlow has yet to start a Prem game for Bears although has appeared as a replacement.

Mat Protheroe, Tom Pincus and Andy Uren come into the backline.

In the only change to the pack, Nick Haining returns at no. 8 in place of Jordan Crane (hamstring).

Head coach Pat Lam said: “These are the sort of games we want to play. We’re up against one of the best teams in the country, back home, and we’re excited about that.

“There’s five points on offer and that’s our focus. Our mindset is about how we can win this game and selecting a team that we believe can achieve that.”

Jake Heenan returns to the replacements bench, while George Smith is also listed among the 23-man squad.

Bristol Bears starting 15 Mat Protheroe; 14. Tom Pincus, 13. Piers O’Conor, 12. Sam Bedlow, 11. Alapati Leiua; 10. Callum Sheedy (co-capt), 9. Andy Uren; 1. Jake Woolmore, 2. Harry Thacker, 3. John Afoa, 4. Ed Holmes, 5. Chris Vui, 6. Steve Luatua (co-capt), 7. Dan Thomas, 8. Nick Haining.

Replacements 16. Nick Fenton-Wells, 17. James Lay, 18. Lewis Thiede, 19. George Smith, 20. Jake Heenan, 21. Harry Randall, 22. Ian Madigan, 23. Tusi Pisi.

Unavailable Tom Lindsay (illness), Will Capon (shoulder), Shaun Malton (groin), Joe Latta (eye), Joe Joyce (ankle), John Hawkins (elbow), Sam Jeffries (ankle), James Dun (knee), Jordan Crane (hamstring), Jack Tovey (rib), Will Hurrell (shoulder), Siale Piutau (family bereavement), Ryan Edwards (shoulder), Charles Piutau (calf), Luke Morahan (shoulder), Luke Daniels (head), Aaron Chapman (knee).

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