Bristol Rugby vow to field strongest available team against Ulster Ravens
BRISTOL Rugby are ready to field their strongest available side against Ulster Ravens on Friday as they aim to secure a place in the quarter-finals of the British & Irish Cup.
Head coach Liam Middleton has already confirmed that centre Fautua Otto will stay in Bristol to continue working with the club's strength and conditioning staff after he recently returned from knee surgery.
Also unavailable are long-term absentees Roy Winters, Iain Grieve and Bryan Rennie.
But, other than that, Bristol have what is approaching a clean bill of health – and Middleton has set his sights on delivering a victory he believes would be a "phenomenal achievement".
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"If we could win, I think it would be a phenomenal achievement," said Middleton.
"I think the game will be played at the top end of the Championship – that type of level. They've got quality performers they can put out and we will pick our strongest available team.
"I think it's going to be a fantastic game and if we can win it, then not only do we get our quarter-final but it's probably served a bigger purpose of putting us in situations of playing big games. The more of those we can play, the better.
"Because it's going to be a game of such a high level, to win it would just say 'put that Pirates game aside, we didn't play well, but look what we can do'."
Argentina prop Gaston Cortes is ready to return for Bristol after missing their last two matches with a calf problem.
"Gaston will probably be available for selection – he has recovered from his calf injury," said Middleton. "He was going well, he was progressing well and we are pleased with him. He's made a quick recovery."