Preview: Bristol v Leicester Tigers

Date published: November 24 2016

Gaston Cortes returns to the starting line-up as Bristol prepare for the challenge of Leicester Tigers on Friday.

The Argentinian international is the only change to the side that secured a losing bonus point versus Bath last weekend.

Jon Fisher is named in the 23-man squad in place of Nick Fenton-Wells after recovering from sickness. Jordan Crane captains Bristol Rugby against his former club in the Round Nine clash at Ashton Gate.

"We are approaching Friday with confidence. We will play with freedom and take the game to them – that’s been a major focus for us in preparation for this game against Leicester,” said acting head coach Mark Tainton.

“Ashton Gate will be rocking and there’s an expectation of the Bristol crowd for the team to deliver a disciplined performance.

"We have to go and match the physicality that Tigers will bring and play with confidence and a desire to win.”

Meanwhile, Academy graduates Will Evans and George Worth come into the Leicester Tigers team. Worth replaces the injured Mathew Tait at full-back, while flanker Evans comes into the back row.

In the only other changes to the line-up that started the 25-6 win over Harlequins on Sunday, Sam Harrison returns at scrum-half and Graham Kitchener comes into the second row.

Manu Tuilagi is named among the replacements in his comeback from a groin injury. Tuilagi made a try-scoring start to the season in the opening-day win at Gloucester but has been sidelined since.

Form: Bristol’s only victory in any tournament this season is 26-11 at home to Sale in the Anglo-Welsh Cup on 11 November. Bristol have lost their last six Premiership matches at Ashton Gate with their most recent victory at the venue in the competition being 30-13 against Leicester in April 2007. They have yet to claim a league point there this season. Leicester Tigers' only defeat in their last five first team games was 10-24 at Saracens in Round 7 of the Premiership. The Tigers have not won away from home in the Premiership since beating Newcastle at Kingston Park on 18 September. The two clubs first met in 1897 but have not clashed since April 2009 when Leicester recorded a record breaking 73-3 victory in a Round 22 Premiership encounter played at Leicester City FC's stadium.

The teams:

Bristol: 15 Jordan Williams 14 Ryan Edwards, 13 Jason Woodward, 12 Will Hurrell, 11 Jack Tovey 10 Billy Searle, 9 Rhodri Williams, 8 Jordan Crane (c), 7 Olly Robinson, 6 Mitch Eadie, 5 Mark Sorenson, 4 Ian Evans, 3 Gaston Cortes, 2 Marc Jones, 1 Kyle Traynor
Replacements: 16 Rob Hawkins, 17 Ryan Bevington, 18 Jamal Ford-Robinson, 19 James Phillips, 20 Jon Fisher, 21 Will Cliff, 22 Adrian Jarvis, 23 Jack Wallace

Leicester Tigers: 15 George Worth, 14 Adam Thompstone, 13 Peter Betham, 12 Owen Williams, 11 Tom Brady, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Sam Harrison 8 Luke Hamilton, 7 Will Evans, 6 Mike Fitzgerald, 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Ed Slater, 3 Greg Bateman, 2 Tom Youngs (c), 1 Ellis Genge
Replacements: 16 Harry Thacker, 17 Riccardo Brugnara, 18 Pat Cilliers, 19 Harry Wells, 20 Lachlan McCaffrey, 21 Jono Kitto, 22 Manu Tuilagi, 23 Jack Roberts

Date: Friday, 25 November
Venue: Ashton Gate
Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
Referee: Tim Wigglesworth
Assistant Referees: Gareth Copsey, Peter Allan
TMO: Sean Davey