Hill rings the changes as Bristol prepare for Leeds

Bristol Rugby Head Coach Richard Hill will take the opportunity to introduce some of the club’s promising youngsters to first team action when Leeds Carnegie come to down on Sunday. Matt Salter returns to captain the side.

Hill shakes things up for this final group match in the EDF Energy Cup but still names a 22 which features six full internationals and welcomes back skipper Matt Salter.

Luke Arscott, Lee Robinson and Jason Strange retain their places in the backline from last weekend’s defeat at Bath with Sam Cox and Kevin Maggs forming a new centre partnership and Craig Morgan and Brian O’Riordan returning to the starting line up.

It’s all change up front with Ray Hogan set to make his first competitive start for Bristol but he has plenty of experience alongside him in the front row in David Blaney and Darren Crompton.

And, it’s a similar tale in the back five where young prospects Dave Attwood, Redford Pennycook and James Phillips feature alongside the experienced Gareth Llewellyn and Matt Salter.

Hill explained that Sunday will be a test for some of the new faces but that there is plenty of experience around them.

“It will be a big occasion for some of our younger players starting at home in a competitive game. So, these lads are really fired up. There are a number of young players there looking for a long career at Bristol.”

“There’s a real opportunity for these lads to convince me that they can perform at this level. If they can stand out then they will get further opportunities at this level.”

“It’s also good to see Kevin Maggs back. He’s absolutely raring to go and he and Sam Cox make a good combination both very direct and committed.”

“We’ve picked a team that is keen to do well. A number of players have points to prove and want to keep their places in the first team. We’re trying to maintain a good home record and ensure that opposing players get used to losing at the Memorial Stadium.”

“I understand Leeds may rest one or two key players but they do have a very good Academy and produce excellent young players.”

“The team they bring down will be very committed and try and run the ball around and, if we’re not careful, their enthusiasm might get the better of us.”

Bristol Rugby:

Luke Arscott; Lee Robinson, Sam Cox, Kevin Maggs, Craig Morgan; Jason Strange, Brian O’Riordan; Ray Hogan, David Blaney, Darren Crompton; Dave Attwood, Gareth Llewellyn; Matt Salter (capt), Redford Pennycook, James Phillips


Scott Linklater, Dave Hilton, Josh Brown, Chevvy Pennycook, Graeme Beveridge, Ed Barnes, Luke Eves.



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