TEAM NEWS Bristol Bears vs Bath Rugby tonight

Gallagher Premiership logoKyle Sinckler returns to the Bristol front row for the first time this season as Bears host arch rivals Bath in tonight’s eagerly anticipated derby.

The British & Irish Lion prop is one of eight changes to a starting XV seeking their first Premiership win in front of an expectant bumper crowd at Ashton Gate (1945ko).

Bears will want to bounce back after being stung 44-8 by Wasps following a 26-9 opening day home defeat by Sale at the Gate two weeks ago. 

Harry Randall starts while Sam Bedlow and Henry Purdy also come into the backline. In the pack, Will Capon, Joe Joyce and Jake Heenan earn first starts of the campaign, while Ed Holmes also returns.

Chris Vui switches to blindside, while Steven Luatua moves to No. 8. Ioan Lloyd switches wing positions with Purdy.

Antoine Frisch is listed among the replacements and could make his Bristol Bears debut.

Bath welcome back Josh McNally and Will Stuart to the starting XV for the short trip to Bristol.

Newly-capped England lock McNally returns to the second row, partnering Charlie Ewels, after missing the start of the season with a shoulder injury.

Fellow international Stuart’s last appearance came back in May.

Beno Obano is reinstated at loosehead prop and hooker Jacques du Toit earns his first start of the campaign as Bath go in search of their first Prem win.

Tom Ellis returns to the pack at blindside flanker in a back three alongside ever-present duo Sam Underhill and no 8 Josh Bayliss.

The backline remains unchanged from the seven players who started the 20-13 home defeat to Newcastle Falcons last Saturday.

On the bench, Lewis Boyce makes his long-awaited return after almost a year out through injury while Anthony Watson appears in the 23 for the first time following his rest period post-British & Irish Lions duty.

Bristol Bears starting 15. Charles Piutau; 14. Ioan Lloyd, 13. Piers O’Conor, 12. Sam Bedlow, 11. Henry Purdy; 10. Callum Sheedy, 9. Harry Randall; 1. Yann Thomas, 2. Will Capon, 3. Kyle Sinckler, 4. Ed Holmes, 5. Joe Joyce, 6. Chris Vui, 7. Jake Heenan, 8. Steven Luatua (c).

System players 16. Jake Kerr, 17. Jake Woolmore, 18. Max Lahiff, 19. Fitz Harding, 20. Dan Thomas, 21. Andy Uren, 22. Antoine Frisch, 23. Alapati Leiua.

Unavailable: Bryan Byrne, Harry Thacker, John Afoa, Dave Attwood, Semi Radradra, Siva Naulago, Luke Morahan.

Bath Rugby starting 15 Tom de Glanville, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Max Ojomoh, 11 Will Muir, 10 Orlando Bailey, 9 Ollie Fox; 1 Beno Obano, 2 Jacques du Toit, 3 Will Stuart, 4 Josh McNally, 5 Charlie Ewels ©, 6 Tom Ellis, 7 Sam Underhill, 8 Josh Bayliss

Systeam players 16 Tom Dunn, 17 Lewis Boyce, 18 D’Arcy Rae, 19 Mike Williams, 20 Miles Reid, 21 Max Green, 22 Max Clark, 23 Anthony Watson

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