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Bristol Bears v South Africa 'A' - Teams and Prediction

MIDWEEK PREVIEW: A stadium-record crowd is expected when Bristol Bears host South Africa ‘A’ at Ashton Gate on Thursday.

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This will be the first time the Premiership club will host a South African national team – making it indeed a very historic moment.

A sell-out crowd of 26,387 supporters will pack into the Ashton Gate to witness the momentous sporting event.

The Bristol supporters will demand a great performance from their side, who have been struggling in the Premiership.

Pat Lam’s team are tenth on the Premiership table and they have only recorded two wins after seven matches.

For SA ‘A’, this is a perfect opportunity to end their Europe tour on a high following the disappointing 14-28 defeat to Munster last week.

Furthermore, it is also an opportunity for the players to put down a marker and add their names to the list of ‘possibilities’ for inclusion in the Springbok World Cup squad.

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One player that will be hoping to put in another significant shift is scrumhalf Grant Williams.

The Sharks scrumhalf was handed the No.9 jersey for Thursday’s match following his cameo from the bench during the match against Munster.

Williams replaces Herschel Jantjies in a team that is sporting five changes.

“Bristol play a really good running game,” Williams said.

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“They really like to run the ball in their own 22 and they play an exciting brand of rugby in general.

“The important aspects for us will be to control the territory game and use the opportunities we create.”

Williams will partner with the talented Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu as the new halfback combination.

“It will be the first time Sacha and I will play together, so we had our first training session on Monday,” said Williams.

“It’s an exciting opportunity and it will be important to play the conditions well and to go out there and do our best.

“We are a group of guys from different provincial unions that are buying into the same system, and there is a fantastic vibe among the players.

“On a personal note, I am really looking forward to going out there and making the most of the chance to play.”

Bristol Bears v South Africa 'A' - Teams and Prediction

Joe Joyce will captain Bristol against the SA ‘A’ team.

The Bristolian lock partners Joe Batley in the engine room, with Yann Thomas, Bryan Byrne and Max Lahiff getting the nod in the front row.

Magnus Bradbury switches to blindside in a dynamic back row alongside Jake Heenan and Fitz Harding, with Will Porter and Callum Sheedy named flyhalf and scrumhalf respectively.

Sam Bedlow and Piers O’Conor combine in the midfield, with Gabriel Ibitoye and Deago Bailey joining Luke Morahan in an electric back three.

Prediction

@rugby365com: South Africa ‘A’ by 9 points

Teams: 

Bristol Bears: 15 Luke Morahan, 14 Deago Bailey, 13 Piers O’Conor, 12 Sam Bedlow, 11 Gabriel Ibitoye, 10 Callum Sheedy, 9 Will Porter, 8 Fitz Harding, 7 Jake Heenan, 6 Magnus Bradbury, 5 Joe Batley, 4 Joe Joyce (captain), 3 Max Lahiff, 2 Bryan Byrne, 1 Yann Thomas.
Replacements: 16 Harry Thacker, 17 Jake Woolmore, 18 Jonathan Benz-Salomon, 19 John Hawkins, 20 Sam Lewis, 21 Andy Uren, 22 Joe Jenkins, 23 Rich Lane.

South Africa ‘A’: 15 Gianni Lombard, 14 Suleiman Hartzenberg, 13 Henco van Wyk, 12 Cornal Hendricks, 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu, 9 Grant Williams, 8 Jean-Luc du Preez, 7 Elrigh Louw, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 Ruan Nortje, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Thomas du Toit (captain), 2 Andre-Hugo Venter, 1 Ntuthuko Mchunu.
Replacements: 16 JJ Kotze, 17 Simphiwe Matanzima, 18 Mornay Smith, 19 Dan du Preez, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Phepsi Buthelezi, 22 Sanele Nohamba, 23 Johan Goosen.

Date: Thursday, November 17
Venue: Ashton Gate Stadium, Bristol
Kick-off: 19.30 (19.30 GMT; 21.30 SA time)
Expected weather: Cold with light rain and a high of 10°C, low of 8°C
Referee: Gianluca Gnecchi (Italy)
Assistant referees: Ben Breakspear (Wales), Rhys Jones (Wales)
TMO: Ian Davies (Wales)

Bristol Bears v South Africa 'A' - Teams and Prediction

 

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