Crompton to start as Bristol look to cure Scarlets fever

Bristol’s head coach Richard Hill has unveiled a new look Bristol Rugby side as his team travel to West Wales to take on the Scarlets on Friday evening with only Lee Robinson retained from the team that started against Toulon last week.

A number of players have returned from injury, the likes of Anthony Elliot, Junior Fatialofa and Darren Crompton (pictured) which increase Hill’s selection options as does the fact that several players were unavailable to him last weekend as they werem’t registered for Europe.

Of note in the backline is the fact that Anthony Elliott will make his first start of the season and will do so at full back and not on the wing.

In addition, Mat Turner, who made his debut in this competition against Northampton on October 4th, scoring two tries in the process, returns on the left wing.

Up front, Darren Crompton makes his first start of the season after successfuly coming through a 20 minute replacement appearance against Toulon at the Memorial Stadium and Matt Salter returns on the flank to skipper the side.

Hill acknowledged when he named his team that the excellent performance and victory over Toulon was a real boost.

“The spirit in the camp has been excellent despite a run of defeats but the win against Toulon really helped to lift everyone. There were a few more smiles on Monday!”

“I’ve made some changes because we genuinely have great competition for places across the side and I want to see what a number of players can do in a game situation.”

“We’re looking to build on the winning performance against Toulon, trying to produce the same end product and see individuals staking a claim for a regular spot.”

He also admitted to looking forward to Friday night’s game but that Stradey Park would be missed:

“It’s always a shame to see a real, old fashioned ground go. There is huge tradition and a lot of history there. I think Bristol are lucky to be involved but we’re a suitable opponent because we share many of the same values as the Scarlets – history, tradition, culture, involvement with the community etc.”

“You can’t get a ticket for love nor money. There will be people on the roofs and on the floodlight pylons. It’ll be some occasion and we’re looking forward to being involved.”

Asked about Rob Higgitt, the former Bristol centre now with the Scarlets:

“We’re looking forward to seeing Rob again. He was a great club servant for five years and his departure left a hole in the squad on and off the field.”

“They haven’t had as much success as they would have liked in the Cups but they play a fantastic brand of 15 man rugby and, with the crowd behind them, it’ll be a real test for us.”

Bristol Rugby:

Anthony Elliott; Lee Robinson, Luke Eves, Junior Fatialofa, Mat Turner; Chris Ashwin, Haydn Thomas; Mark Irish, Scott Linklater, Darren Crompton; Mariano Sambucetti, Robert Sidoli; Matt Salter (capt), Redford Pennycook, Andrew Blowers


David Blaney, Peter Bracken, Dave Attwood, Chevvy Pennycook, Sam Alford, Kevin Maggs, Greg Barden

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