Faosiliva is such a destructive player for us, says Bristol Rugby's Matt Sherratt
BRISTOL'S rivals have been warned that Samoan powerhouse Alafoti Faosiliva will only get better and better as he settles in at the Memorial Stadium.
The No 8 has already scored four tries in two appearances, including a debut hat-trick against London Scottish, and he will start against Bridgend this evening.
Bristol will look to make it four wins in a row in the British & Irish Cup when they host the Ravens (7.45pm) – and coach Matt Sherratt is confident Faosiliva will continue to improve.
The Samoa star, who has also represented his country on the IRB World Sevens circuit, is proving worth the wait after red tape, an international call-up and an injury delayed the start of his Bristol career.
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Sherratt said: "Just watching him every day, you can tell he's really settling in. He's a good guy, too, so he's come with the right attitude – to work.
"Frighteningly, he will get better and better, and the four tries he's scored are four tries you probably wouldn't expect a sevens player to have scored. He has scored off the back of four driving line-outs, and I didn't know he had that to his game.
"But I know he's got some other tricks up his sleeve that I'm sure he will be showing the crowd sooner rather than later. We'll try to get him involved in our attack as much as possible, because he's a destructive player."
Bristol were 32-8 winners over Bridgend in Wales last weekend, securing a bonus point that has kept them two points clear of Ulster Ravens in Pool One.
And with only the top team in each pool reaching the quarter-finals, Sherratt knows there can be no room for complacency this evening.
"We've highlighted the B&I Cup as a competition we'd like to progress in this year," said Sherratt.
"Last week, it was important for us to win, not only because we've got ambitions in the competition but to keep our momentum rolling forward. It's still a tricky pool and Bridgend this weekend will be a test. I won't say they will come with nothing to lose, but they will come with a real desire to play, because we beat them at their home ground.
"The messages their coaches were giving them at the end of that game was just 'play everything' and I'm sure they'll continue that when they come to the Mem. We'll give Bridgend a lot of respect, because if we're ten per cent off our game, Bridgend will turn that result around.
"They're a strong side – we just did a couple of things last weekend that took us away from them, but it was a pretty competitive fixture."
Bristol have made three changes to the side that won so convincingly at Bridgend six days ago, with Jon Goodridge and Jack Gadd back from injury and George Biagi handed his first competitive start for the club.
Bristol: J Goodridge; G Watkins, L Eves, J Gadd, M Williams; A Jarvis, T Slater; K Traynor, R Lawrence, G Cortes, B Glynn, G Biagi, I Grieve (capt), M Mama, A Faosiliva. Reps: T Channon, M Lilley, W Thompson, G Townson, M Eadie, J Grindal, M Jones.
Bridgend: A Evans; L Morgan, N Edwards, S Campbell, R Ward Jones; J Murphy, T Habberfield; K Dowding, M Dwyer, D Suter, L Davies, A Jones (capt), A Waite, T Morgan, A Hillier-Rees. Reps: A James, J Thomas, A Evans, A Ellis, B Thomas, R Thomas, C Williams.