Grieve set for full debut as Bristol travel to Irish

Bristol Rugby Head Coach Richard Hill makes several changes to his side for Sunday’s trip to London Irish with Academy flanker Iain Grieve set to make his full debut.

Last weekend’s defeat at home to Harlequins all but ended Bristol’s chances of qualifying for the Heineken Cup next season and, after the game, Hill said that he would now look to rest some of the side.

The majority of the changes are made in the pack where Mark Regan, Sean Hohneck and Joe El Abd are recalled in addition to Grieve’s full debut.

In the backline, Rob Higgitt has recovered from the knock that kept him out of the Quins game and replaces Sam Cox.

There are also some new faces on the bench with Peter Bracken and Mariano Sambucetti both featuring after lengthy injury absences and Redford Pennycook and Luke Eves both seeking to make their first Premiership appearances of the season.

Hill commented as he named his side:”I’m going to take the opportunity to rest a few players throughout the next few games as it’s really about looking at next season now, keeping players fresh and taking a look at one or two of the youngsters.”

“I can now experiment a little. There’s no point putting a load of youngsters in but I can try one or two at a time which is good for them and we can see what they’re like. The more experience they get between now and the end of the season, the more confidence they’ll have going into next year.”

“Iain’s got a superb attitude and is very physical. He’s one of our fastest and most powerful forwards and gives us a lineout option. He loves tackling and smashing people and will carry into contact with relish. I think Joe El Abd and Dan Ward-Smith will enjoy playing alongside him. I have high hopes for him.”

“Irish would have liked to have been top four but have a good draw in the Heineken where they have a genuine chance of doing very well.”

“They may have an eye on next week but I’ve never, ever seen London Irish ease up or under perform in any fixture. I’ve never seen them perform without heart or passion and Sunday will doubtless be no different.”

Bristol Rugby:

Luke Arscott; Tom Arscott, Rob Higgitt, Neil Brew, David Lemi; Ed Barnes, Shaun Perry; Darren Crompton, Mark Regan, Jason Hobson; Nathan Budgett, Sean Hohneck; Iain Grieve, Joe El Abd (capt), Dan Ward-Smith

Replacements:Scott Linklater, Peter Bracken, Mariano Sambucetti, Redford Pennycook, Haydn Thomas, Jason Strange, Luke Eves.   

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