Premiership: Bristol v Bath – Lions pair Sinckler and Watson make early return


Kyle Sinckler (left) and Anthony Watson
Kyle Sinckler (left) came on in all three Lions Tests, while Anthony Watson (right) started the first two
Venue: Ashton Gate Date: Friday, 1 October Kick-off: 19:45 BST Coverage: Commentary on BBC Radio Bristol and live scores on the BBC Sport website

Bristol’s Kyle Sinckler makes an early return from British and Irish Lions duty to start, as one of eight changes to his side for Friday’s Premiership visit of neighbours Bath.

The prop came on in all three Tests in South Africa this summer and had been due to rest for another two weeks.

Bath name Lions winger Anthony Watson on the bench, with both clubs reaching agreements over their early release from post-tour rest periods.

Both have lost their first two games.

England pair Josh McNally and Will Stuart start for Bath after injury, with Sam Underhill fit to play in the back row.

Fiji back Semi Radradra remains out for Bristol but Will Capon, Joe Joyce and Jake Heenan make their first starts of the season in the pack.

Sinckler will be the first of the Lions players to return to action.

A 10-week rest period until the middle of October was mandated but there was provision for clubs to apply for players to return earlier.

Bristol rugby director Pat Lam said: “The Lions players have requested themselves. They want to get back playing, across the board. It’s all driven by each player – each player makes that decision themselves.

“What we will never do is tell a player he has got to come back and play. It’s up to that player. Kyle is one of them who has requested he wants to play, and then it goes to the RFU (Rugby Football Union) and then ourselves.”

Bristol: Piutau; Lloyd, O’Conor, Bedlow, Purdy; Sheedy, Randall; Thomas, Capon, Sinckler, Holmes, Joyce, Vui, Heenan, Luatua (capt).

Replacements: Kerr, Woolmore, Lahiff, Harding, Thomas, Uren, Frisch, Leiua.

Bath: De Glanville; Rokoduguni, Joseph, Ojomoh, Muir; Bailey, Fox; Obano, Du Toit, Stuart, McNally, Ewels (capt), Ellis, Underhill, Bayliss.

Replacements: Dunn, Boyce, Rae, Williams, Reid, Green, Clark, Watson.

Referee: Ian Tempest.

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