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Former All Blacks star a major doubt for Premiership opener

Bristol’s record signing Charles Piutau is a major doubt for the start of the Premiership season after injuring his shoulder.

 
 

Piutau, who moved from Ulster to Bristol for a record Premiership transfer fee of £1million in August 2017, damaged his shoulder in Bristol’s 14-12 pre-season defeat to Ulster on Saturday.

It was Bristol’s final warm-up fixture before their Premiership campaign gets underway with the visit of Bath to Ashton Gate this coming Saturday.

Piutau had come on at half-time, only to leave the field 10 minutes later with his arm in a sling. Bristol head coach Pat Lam, the man responsible for luring the 26-year-old to the ambitious club, tried to put a positive spin on things.

“Charles’ injury is unlucky, but that’s why you have to have a large squad. We will need everybody over the course of the season,” Lam told the Bristol Post.

“It’s obvious how big a blow it would be if Charles can’t play on Friday against Bath, but that’s rugby. I’ll be confident if Charles is there and in the team to face Bath, but if he’s not, the next guy steps in.

“We asked all the players to make life difficult for the coaches and we have got some serious selection headaches. The only way you win things is with a squad – it’s not about the individual, it’s about the team.

“Charles is getting his shoulder assessed and the medical team will go through everything, get the scans done, and when we know more, we’ll let everybody know. Injuries could easily happen to us next week or at any point.

“The last thing you want to do is put the players in cotton wool. They have to be ready, but at the same time freak incidents happen.”

 
 

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