- Bristol face tough opening test at Castle Park
- Davey includes a host of new signings in match day squad
Photo: RFU Archive
Former Premiership outfit Bristol Rugby - headed-up by new coach Liam Middleton - show two changes from the side that suffered a narrow 20-16 defeat to Bath last Friday in a pre-season friendly.
The West Country men face a tough opening game against Doncaster Knights at Castle Park, led by Iain Grieve who returns to the side following a minor injury.
In the opposition camp, Doncaster’s Director of Rugby Brett Davey has named 10 debutants in his newly assembled squad as the Knights intend to take their pre-season form into the league campaign.
Davey said: "We are really looking forward to the first game and we are confident in our own ability. The Bristol match will be a good indicator of where we are.
"The pre-season games have been good and winning all three fixtures in very different circumstances gives us a needed boost - we know we have a lot of improvements to make, but we are comfortable with our squad and their capabilities."
Doncaster Knights vs. Bristol Rugby, Saturday September 3, KO 1430.
Starting XV: David McIlwaine; DougieFlockhart, Tom Luke, PJ Gidlow, Michael Keating; Michael Whitehead, Lee Audis; Stuart Corsar, Steve Boden, Alex Brown, Matt Challinor ©, Glen Kenworthy, Latu Makaafi, Zack Farivarz, Andy Boyde
Replacements: Andy Brown, Royce Burke-Flynn, Jack Yeandle, Dominic Parsons, Michael Noone, Chris Hallam, Ollie Goss
Starting XV: Sean Marsden; George Watkins, Jack Tovey, Junior Fatialofa, Matt Williams; Tristan Roberts, Matt Keyte; Mark Irish, Ross Johnston, Jason Hobson, Mariano Sambucetti, Roy Winters, Josh Ovens, James Merriman, Iain Grieve (c).
Replacements: Rhys Lawrence, Wayne Thompson, Darren Crompton, Darren Barry, Marco Mama, Tom Slater, Mark Davies