Mike Tagicakibau set to sit out Bristol Rugby's B&I Cup pool finale against Cardiff
BRISTOL will not risk Mike Tagicakibau against Cardiff on Sunday, in order to give him the best possible chance of facing Leeds five days later.
Bristol face a double-header in the next nine days that will help shape their season in both the British & Irish Cup and the Championship.
They need one point against Cardiff on Sunday to secure their place in the last eight of the British & Irish Cup, while a victory would guarantee a home tie in the last eight.
They then meet Leeds, five points and two places above them in the Championship, next Friday.
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Tagicakibau, the Fiji back who can operate at wing or centre, suffered a recurrence of a leg injury in Friday's 14-8 win over Ulster Ravens and will not be considered to face Cardiff this weekend.
He initially missed four weeks of action after suffering a slight tear at the back of the his knee, near the bottom of his hamstring, and has aggravated the problem.
Bristol academy coach Matt Sherratt, however, does not believe the injury is as severe as it was the first time round.
"It was an aggravation of the injury he was out with before, but as far as time-scale goes, it's not as serious as the one before," said Sherratt.
"We'll wait until it settles down before we make a call on that but he won't play this weekend. That will then give him the best chance of playing in the next game."
Samoa centre Fautua Otto will also miss out this weekend as he continues to work with Bristol's strength and conditioning staff.
The 27-year-old returned ahead of schedule to appear in Bristol's last two league matches, having undergone knee surgery last summer, but is continuing his conditioning programme at the club.
"We reintegrated Tua and he showed glimpses of what he can do, but he's still physically a little bit off compared with how he finished last season," said Sherratt.
"So this is a good time to give him a bit of confidence and get his physical wellbeing up to scratch."