Hill forced into several changes for Bristol

The well documented injuries picked up against Harlequins last weekend mean that Bristol Rugby Head Coach Richard Hill is forced into several changes for the visit of London Wasps on Saturday.

David Blaney, Shaun Perry and Dan Ward-Smith have all undergone operations since last Sunday’s game and their absence is a blow although a couple of their team mates return after injury.

Tom Arscott, who turned his ankle against Stade Francais back in November, returns on the right wing and there is a new half back partnership in Brian O’Riordan and Jason Strange.

In the pack, Alex Clarke returns in place of Darren Crompton at loosehead and Alfie To’oala and Andrew Blowers come in for Joe El Abd and Dan Ward-Smith respectively.

Richard Hill acknowledged that Saturday against Wasps represents a tough match for his team when he revealed his team:

“It’s disappointing to lose players but we won’t be making any excuses as we have a good enough squad for players to come in and replace those missing.”

“We’re hoping to get back to winning ways in the Guinness Premiership. Our last game, at Bath, was a while back and I think we were all still thinking about Stade Francais a bit.”

“But you have to be able to switch from one competition to another. We’ve not been in the Heineken Cup before but we have to learn from the previous experience and put the win over Harlequins behind us. We have three very important games in the Guinness Premiership to come and have to focus on those.”

“Wasps had a difficult start to the season as most of their squad was away at the Rugby World Cup but they’ve found some form since. They’re an outstanding side. Probably, with Gloucester, they’re the two best teams in the league at the moment.”

“I watched their game against Clermont Auvergne last week and they were so good for 40 minutes. Fortunately, the French gave us a few crumbs of comfort and a couple of ideas of where to attack. It takes a very good team to put pressure on Wasps.”

“But, we’ll be on our own patch where we haven’t lost since Leicester on the opening day, so the Memorial Stadium is becoming an increasingly difficult place to teams to visit.”

Bristol Rugby:

Luke Arscott; Tom Arscott, Rob Higgitt, Neil Brew, David Lemi; Jason Strange, Brian O’Riordan; Alex Clarke, Mark Regan, Jason Hobson; Roy Winters, Sean Hohneck; Matt Salter (capt), Alfie To’oala, Andrew Blowers


Scott Linklater, Darren Crompton, Dave Attwood, Joe El Abd, Haydn Thomas, Ed Barnes, Sam Cox



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