Steven Luatua withdraws from Bristol Bears squad

Date published: October 16 2020

Steven Luatua will not feature in Friday night’s Challenge Cup final as the Bears skipper awaits the birth of his child back in Bristol.

The club had organised a contingency plan to fly the All Black out on Friday morning, but with his partner, Olivia, still in labour, Luatua remains at home with our full support.

Desperate to play

Director of Rugby Pat Lam said: “Steven was desperate to play and be with his teammates so we made sure we gave him every opportunity to get here, because he’s such an important leader for our team.

“But family always comes first and Steven and Olivia has everybody’s full support at the Bears. When we spoke this morning, I told him to focus on the arrival of his trophy and we’ll try and bring back a trophy for Bristol this evening.”

Joe Joyce starts in the second row, while Chris Vui switches to blindside flanker. Ed Holmes comes onto the bench and Siale Piutau takes on the captaincy.

Bristol (revised): 15 Max Malins, 14 Luke Morahan, 13 Semi Radradra, 12 Siale Piutau (c), 11 Alapati Leiua, 10 Callum Sheedy, 9 Harry Randall, 8 Ben Earl, 7 Dan Thomas, 6 Chris Vui, 5 Joe Joyce, 4 Dave Attwood, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Harry Thacker, 1 Yann Thomas
Replacements: 16 George Kloska, 17 Jake Woolmore, 18 John Afoa, 19 Ed Holmes, 20 Jake Heenan, 21 Tom Kessell, 22 Piers O’Conor, 23 Niyi Adeolokun

Date: Friday, October 16
Venue: Stade Maurice-David, Aix-en-Provence
Kick-off: 21:00 local (20:00 BST, 19:00 GMT)
Referee: Andrew Brace
Assistant referees: Frank Murphy, George Clancy
TMO: Brian McNeice