Focused Bristol ready to put up a fight at Gloucester
Bears coach Pat Lam recalls his big guns for derby clash
BT Sport 2, 7.45pm Friday
After just two rounds the Premiership table has a familiar look with Exeter and Saracens detached from the pack but hot on their heels, and the only other unbeaten side, are Gloucester.
The Cherry & Whites impressed in the opening round with victory over Northampton and looked to set to follow that up in style when taking a 21-0 lead at Bath a week later.
But they lost their way in the second half at the Rec and made crucial errors as the under-fire hosts were spurred to fight back, and had to settle for a draw.
Gloucester now take on Bristol, who have held their own in the Premiership following their promotion.
After a home victory over Bath coach Pat Lam went without some big names for a trip to Saracens, but the Bears were still in the game before flanker George Smith’s sending-off.
Bristol send out a stronger side at Kingsholm with fly-half Ian Madigan and centre Tusi Pisi restored to the backline, while former Gloucester prop John Afoa also returns.
Lam appears to have his players focused and ready to scrap and we should see another gritty performance from the visitors, who are given a 15-point handicap start.
Gloucester have strengthened their pack with new signings from South Africa Franco Marais and Gerbrandt Grobler coming into the tight five, and that should provide another decent platform for in-form fly-half Danny Cipriani.
A home win looks on the cards but Bristol have shown they can be obdurate opponents and should keep it close.
Munster have skipper Peter O’Mahony back for their Pro14 clash with Ospreys, while fly-half Joey Carbery makes his first start.
Ospreys have two wins from two this season but are given a 21-point start for this stern test on the new artificial surface at Cork’s Irish Independent Park.
Edinburgh have suffered two defeats on the road this season but are eight-point favourites in their first home outing against Connacht.
Gloucester to win by one to 12 points
1pt 23-10 Betfair
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