Fautua Otto named among replacements for Bristol Rugby's clash with Doncaster Knights
FAUTUA Otto looks set to return to action for Bristol Rugby ahead of schedule, after being named among the replacements for Sunday's Championship clash with Doncaster Knights.
The Samoa centre damaged knee ligaments while on international duty against Scotland in the summer and had been expected to return to action in the New Year.
But the 27-year-old, who is one of Bristol's most effective and destructive players, will be handed the No 22 shirt when his team go in search of a sixth straight victory this weekend.
Meanwhile, David McIlwaine will start against his former club after being given his first Championship start since October, while Jack Tovey and Ruki Tipuna also return to the back-line.
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In total, head coach Liam Middleton makes nine changes to the side that beat Bridgend 41-3 last weekend, with Ross Johnston, Wayne Thompson, Mariano Sambucetti, Glen Townson, Redford Pennycook and Mitch Eadie also returning.
There is no place in the match-day 22 for scrum-half Tom Slater, who impressed in back-to-back matches against Bridgend, while Marco Mama and Rhys Lawrence – also key men in the British & Irish Cup successes – drop to the bench.
Doncaster, meanwhile, have parted company with director of rugby Brett Davey. The former Bristol full-back had been at Castle Park for three years but recently saw Clive Griffiths appointed above him as director of professional rugby.
Bristol team to face Doncaster on Sunday (3pm): Jack Tovey; George Watkins, Luke Eves, Jack Gadd, David McIlwaine; Adrian Jarvis, Ruki Tipuna (capt); Kyle Traynor, Ross Johnston, Wayne Thompson, Mariano Sambucetti, Glen Townson, Alafoti Faosiliva, Redford Pennycook, Mitch Eadie. Replacements: Rhys Lawrence, Bruce Douglas, Ben Glynn, Marco Mama, James Grindal, Tristan Roberts, Fautua Otto.