Charles Piutau: Bristol Bears star injured for Premiership opener

Charles Piutau arrives at Bristol following two seasons in the Pro 14 at Ulster. David Rogers/Getty Images

Bristol Bears' star signing Charles Piutau will miss the club's Premiership opener against Bath due to a shoulder injury.

Piutau joined newly-promoted Bristol from Ulster in the summer in a reported £1 million-per-season deal.

But the club suffered a blow last week when the former All Black left a preseason friendly against Connacht with his arm in a sling.

The fullback will see a specialist on Saturday to determine the extent of the injury and has therefore not been included in the Bears squad for Friday's Premiership curtain-raiser at Ashton Gate.

Speaking at Wednesday's pre-Bath press conference, Bears head coach Pat Lam said: "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."

There were reports that Piutau will be ruled out for as much as six months -- but that has been ruled out by a club spokesperson.

Elsewhere, George Smith and John Afoa will make their full Bristol debuts. Australian legend Smith and former All Black Afoa also joined the club over the summer and will start on Friday night as Bristol play their first match in the Premiership since the 2016-17 season.