Bristol Rugby make three changes for Moseley trip as Samoa star Fautua Otto returns
BRISTOL Rugby head coach Liam Middleton has made three changes to the side that beat Leeds a fortnight ago for tomorrow’s trip to Moseley – with Fautua Otto making his first start of the season.
The Samoa centre is deemed fit enough to start after several weeks working with the club’s strength and conditioning staff, having made two appearances from the replacements’ bench over the festive period. He had been out of action for seven months following a serious knee injury.
Prop Gaston Cortes comes in for the suspended Jason Hobson, while Alafoti Faosiliva is preferred to Marco Mama in the back row.
Bristol are yet to win at Moseley’s Billesley Common ground – but head coach Middleton was buoyed by his side’s 12-9 win over fellow Championship play-off chasers Leeds, and pleased to have since had a weekend without a game.
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He said: “I think we took a lot of confidence from the Leeds game. Had the conditions been different, wind and rain-wise, I think we were probably two tries better than them.
“I thought the performance there was very good – it was accurate, our scrum was dominant and we were dominant in the areas we wanted to be, plus we didn’t concede any tries.
“Then last week gave us an opportunity to look at some of the aspects of our game that you don’t look at when you’re preparing for a game – those other parts. We worked hard last week; we didn’t take the week off and relax, we actually did a lot of hard strength and conditioning work and a lot of rugby work.
“We did four rugby sessions in the week and I think it will suit us well coming into this game. You look just at yourself, you don’t have to think, ‘well, we’ve got Cardiff or whoever on the weekend, we need to do this or that’.
“It was a case of looking at some of the aspects of our game that we would like to practice more of, so we worked a bit on counterattack, for example.
“It means you can spend more time on yourself and we were able to do that last week. I think that extra work spent on aspects of our game will show up in our next two performances.”
Moseley: B Robinson; S Hunt, G King, A Carter, S Armstrong; G Hughes, S Brown; E Waller, A Caves, B Evans, A Lockley, M Powell, N Mason, O Robinson, B Pienaar. Reps: S Wilkes, B Lawrence, T Warren, S Dickinson, B Pons, O Thomas, B Hunt.
Bristol: J Tovey; G Watkins, F Otto, L Eves, R Edwards; A Jarvis, J Grindal (capy); K Traynor, R Johnston, G Cortes, M Sambucetti, G Townson, A Faosiliva, R Pennycook, M Eadie. Reps: R Lawrence, B Douglas, W Thompson, B Glynn, M Mama, R Tipuna, T Roberts.