Director of Rugby Clive Griffiths has named a changed side for the return of Greene King IPA Championship action as the Knights travel to Ashton Gate to take on league leaders Bristol Rugby tomorrow evening.
One name most Knights fans are unlikely to recognize is Stephen Hihetah who will make his Knights debut at outside centre.
Hihetah links up with the Knights squad having had spells at London Scottish and more recently Yorkshire Carnegie. The 23-year-old is capable at both centre and wing and has international experience with Romania, having won five caps under former Knights boss Lynn Howells. Speaking ahead of his Knights debut Stephen said. “I’m really looking forward to it tomorrow, it’s a massive game, it’s been a little while since I’ve played so I’m raring to go.
“I’ve had a good couple of days training here, the guys are great and there’s a good buzz around the camp.
“I love playing under floodlights and it should be a really good atmosphere to play in tomorrow night.”
The remainder of the backline has a more familiar feel, Dougie Flockhart returns from his winning trip with the Championship XV to start on the wing with Tyson Lewis and Paul Jarvis completing the back three. The ever-present Bevon Armitage will wear the number 12 jersey outside a half back pairing of Paul Roberts and Bruno Bravo.
In the pack Tom Davies and Colin Quigley will start together for the first time since the Knights triumphed at Headingley in September, with Ben Hunter completing the front row. Jon Phelan returns from Canadian international duty to start at lock, accompanied by Matt Challinor. Number eight Phil Eggleshaw will make his first will make his first league start of the season with Latu Makaafi and Michael Hills on the flanks.
On the bench Richard List and Jack Bergmanas provide front row cover with further forward firepower coming from Glen Kenworthy and Will Foden. Teenage scrumhalf Jack Maplesden returns for his first game since featuring versus Plymouth Albion on the opening day of the season and Jamie Lennard will provide backline cover from the bench.
There is one more new face named in tomorrow’s match day squad as John O’Donnell joins the team on Dual-registration from Premiership outfit Sale Sharks. The 21-year-old winger appeared in the summer’s Premiership 7s and will offer a serious injection of pace if introduced tomorrow evening.
Knights XV 15) Paul Jarvis, 14) Dougie Flockhart, 13) Stephen Hihetah, 12) Bevon Armitage, 11) Tyson Lewis, 10) Paul Roberts, 9) Bruno Bravo, 1) Tom Davies, 2) Ben Hunter, 3) Colin Quigley, 4) Matt Challinor, 5) Jon Phelan, 6) Latu Makaafi, 7) Michael Hills ©, 8) Phil Eggleshaw
Replacements; 16) Richard List, 17) Jack Bergmanas, 18) Glen Kenworthy, 19) Will Foden, 20) Jamie Lennard, 21) John O’Donnell, 22) Jack Maplesden.
Bristol XV 15) Auguy Slowik, 14) Jack Wallace, 13) Gareth Maule, 12) Ben Mosses, 11) Darren Hudson, 10) Adrian Jarvis, 9) Dwayne Peel (c) 1) Kyle Traynor, 2) Max Crumpton, 3) Gaston Cortes, 4) Ian Evans, 5) Mark Sorenson, 6) Nick Koster, 7) Olly Robinson, 8) Ryan Jones.
Replacements; 16) Rhys Lawrence, 17) James Hall, 18) Glen Townson, 19) Mitch Eadie, 20) Luke Baldwin, 21) Nicky Robinson, 22) Luke Eves.