Duo to make final Knights starts at Bristol

editorial image

FRED Burdon and Jack Yeandle will get their last run outs in a Knights shirt after being named in the starting XV for the season closer at Bristol on Saturday.

Burdon is set to join Leeds Carnegie while Yeandle has penned a deal with Exeter but director of rugby Brett Davey has handed them the chance to go out with a bang against the promotion favourites.

Vice captain Matt Challinor again takes the armband due to the on-going absence of Chris Hallam and he will revert to blindside flanker as Dan Smith holds onto a start at second row.

The only change from the defeat to Nottingham last weekend sees Yeandle replace Steve Boden who is also set to quit the Knights.

Boden suffered a knock against Nottingham and will start on the bench as a precaution.

Davey is limited with his backs selection but the return of utility player Toby Berridge to the bench increases his options.

Davey said: “We have a freedom to play rugby and there is no pressure on us, but Bristol are a very strong side and will be pushing for a final victory ahead of their semi-final.

“I’ve been really proud of all the lads this season, it’s been tough in patches, but there have been some real highs it would be great to sign off with a win over the best team in the league.”

Bristol coach Liam Middleton will shuffle his pack ahead of the play off semi-finals, making eight changes from the win over London Welsh last weekend.

George Watkins in back in for the first time since the mauling of the Knights in the first game of the play-offs while Jon Goodridge replaces Sean Marsden at full back.

Tom Slater and Matthew Jones will partner at half back with Mark Lilley set to make his first start for the club.

Former Knight Glen Townson is named in the second row along with Ben Glynn while James Merriman has recovered from injury to make the squad.

Knights to face Bristol: 15 Michael Keating; 14 Dougie Flockhart; 13 Fred Burdon; 12 PJ Gidlow; 11 Ben Toft; 10 Gareth Quinn-McDonogh; 9 Michael Heaney; 1 Tom Davies; 2 Jack Yeandle; 3 Tomas Francis; 4 Dom Parsons; 5 Dan Smith; 6 Matt Challinor; 7 Zack Farivarz; 8 Chris Planchant.

Replacements: Andy Brown; Steve Boden; Alex Brown; Adam Kettle; David Bradford; Latu Makaafi.

Bristol: Jon Goodridge; George Watkins; Fautua Otto; Luke Eves; Will Helu; Matthew Jones; Tom Slater; Mark Lilley; Jason Harris-Wright; Wayne Thompson; Ben Glynn; Glen Townson; Iain Grieve (c); James Merriman; Dan Montagu.

Replacements: Rhys Lawrence; Will Davis; Mariano Sambucetti; Henry Vanderglas; Redford Pennycook; Louis Silver; Matty James.