Charles Piutau returns to Bristol line-up for Sale Sharks clash

Charles Piutau has recovered from injury
Charles Piutau has recovered from injury

Bristol Bears have received a much-needed boost ahead of the round 21 Gallagher Premiership clash against Sale Sharks to be played at Ashton Gate on Friday with Charles Piutau returning to the starting XV.

Piutau has overcome a calf injury to make a comeback into the starting line-up and is among the three changes made from Bristol's 20-23 win over Leicester Tigers in the previous round.

Siale Piutau also returns in the place of Sam Bedlow at number 12 with the latter sidelined with a shoulder injury while the final change sees Yann Thomas returning as hooker in the place of Jake Woolmore.

“I think our vision has given us that opportunity to really show what we can do as a group, and it’s given us real excitement and focus for the season and for Friday night," said head coach Pat Lam.

“There’s been a real steely determination to ensure that we do things well.

"There’s been a real edge and boys are keeping each other accountable – and if we do that and finish the week well, then that’s going to give us the best chance to have the ultimate celebration of a victory.”

Bristol will be heading into the encounter with a lot of confidence following wins over Saracens and Leicester Tigers in their previous two games as they positioned ninth in the table.

Bristol Bears line-up:

15. Charles Piutau; 14. Tom Pincus, 13. Piers O’Conor, 12. Siale Piutau, 11. Alapati Leiua; 10. Callum Sheedy (co-capt), 9. Andy Uren; 1. Yann Thomas, 2. Harry Thacker, 3. John Afoa, 4. Ed Holmes, 5. Chris Vui, 6. Steve Luatua (co-capt), 7. Dan Thomas, 8. Nick Haining.

Replacements: 16. Nick Fenton-Wells, 17. James Lay, 18. Lewis Thiede, 19. Jordan Crane, 20. George Smith, 21. Harry Randall, 22. Ian Madigan, 23. Luke Daniels.

Premiership Rugby - Points Table