By Ali Stokes
Bristol Bear’s landmark signing Charles Piutau has been ruled out of the opening game of the 2018/19 season.
The All Black fullback was forced from the field during the first-half of Bristol’s pre-season match against Connacht, leaving the pitch with his arm in a sling.
A significant blow for Bristol Head Coach Pat Lam, who will have been hoping to utilise Piutau’s game-breaking ability to ensure his side do not suffer re-relegation and a return to the Championship. While the club has not confirmed the extent of Piutau's injury. a long-term layoff could cast fresh doubts over the season's ambitions.
Speaking to Bristol Live, Lam said: "He is going through assessment at the moment, so he is seeing a consultant at the weekend and then we will have a better idea on the time scale."
"It is a shoulder injury. He had a scan and then the consultation with the specialist is on the weekend and that is when we will know more."
"He has got to see the professional first, and he can tell us what the time scale is."
Lam also commented on Piutau's injury earlier this week, broadcasting his faith in his squad's depth: “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
“We ask all the players to make life difficult for the coaches and we have got some serious headaches. The only way you win things is with a squad- it’s not about the individual it’s about the team.”
Lam is likely to pick either former Ealing Trailfinders fullback Luke Daniels or Wallaby outside back Luke Morahan to fill the substantial void left by Piutau’s injury.
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