Bristol Rugby confirm nine new signings

Bristol Rugby confirm nine new signings

Bristol Rugby confirmed nine new arrivals ahead of the 2018/19 campaign as Pat Lam’s squad for the 2018/19 season begins to takes shape.

John Afoa

A World Cup-winning All Black international of 36 caps, experienced prop John Afoa joins Bristol from West Country rivals Gloucester.

The 34-year-old tighthead has made 93 appearances for the Cherry and Whites and makes the move down the M5 to bolster Pat Lam’s front-row options.

The former Auckland Blues and Ulster front-rower made his All Blacks debut against Ireland during the 2005 Grand Slam tour of the home unions, and looks set to slot seamlessly into Lam’s blueprint.

Shaun Malton

South African-born hooker, Shaun Malton knows exactly what it takes to be successful in the top flight, having helped Exeter Chiefs to their first Premiership title.

The 27-year-old joined Exeter from Championship side, Nottingham ahead of the 2015/16 season, having previously enjoyed spells with London Irish and South African Currie Cup side the Sharks.

The all-action hooker featured 14 times for the Chiefs during the title-winning season, scoring three tries along the way.

Nic Stirzaker

Described as having the best pass in Australia by former Wallabies half-back and 1991 World Cup-winning captain, Nick Farr-Jones, Nic Stirzaker is an exceptional addition to Pat Lam’s squad for the 2018/19 campaign.

The scrum-half, currently on a short-term deal at Saracens, made more than 50 appearances for Super Rugby side Melbourne Rebels, captaining the franchise during the 2017 season.

London-born, Stirzaker also featured for the Barbarians against the All Blacks and Tonga last November.

Yann Thomas

Despite having grown up playing for Gloucester, Yann Thomas’ arrival in BS3 really is a homecoming, with the prop living just a three-minute walk from Ashton Gate.

The 27-year-old, who has a reputation as a strong scrummager, joins from French Fédérale 1 outfit, Stade Rouennais.

Thomas, who started playing rugby at Combination side, Nailsea and Backwell, made 74 appearances at Kingsholm before making the move to France’s Normandy region.

Aly Muldowney

Aly Muldowney is no stranger to Pat Lam and his systems, having worked with him at Connacht from 2013-2016 and lifted the Pro12 title alongside him.

The English-born second row, who can play in the back row, has also represented Glasgow and Exeter Chiefs but joins Bristol from French Top 14 side, Grenoble.

The 34-year-old has Champions Cup experience and was named Connacht’s ‘Team Man of the Year’ in 2014/15.

Tiff Eden

Fly-half Tiff Eden joins Bristol Rugby from Championship rivals, Nottingham.

The no.10, who originally joined the Green and Whites on a dual-registration deal from Worcester Warriors, has already amassed 125 league points this season, including a last-minute penalty to defeat Ealing at Lady Bay in November.

Eden made his Nottingham debut against Yorkshire Carnegie, back in February 2015.

Harry Thacker

A skillful dynamo of a hooker, Harry Thacker is a hugely exciting addition to Pat Lam’s squad for the 2018/19 season.

The 23-year-old former England U20 international, who joins from Leicester Tigers, was nominated for the Land Rover Discovery of the Season award during the 2015/16 campaign.

The versatile Thacker, who has made more than 50 appearances for Tigers, has also featured in the back-row at Welford Road.

Jake Heenan

Five years after bringing him to the Northern Hemisphere to play for Connacht, Pat Lam is reunited with Kiwi flanker Jake Heenan.

The 25-year-old openside heads for Ashton Gate having spent five seasons in Galway, where he was a standout player in Connacht's PRO12-winning season of 2015/16.

Heenan captained New Zealand U20 at the 2012 Junior World Championship - a side that included current Bristol player, Joe Latta.

Jordan Lay

Samoan international prop, Jordan Lay is another front-row arrival in Pat Lam’s 2018/19 squad, joining from Guinness Pro14 side Edinburgh.

The 25-year-old, formerly of New Zealand side Bay of Plenty Steamers, featured for Samoa in November’s Autumn Internationals and has five caps for his country, starting in a narrow 44-38 defeat to Scotland at Murrayfield.

A product of Auckland's renowned King's College, Lay was handed his Samoan debut against Tonga in July.

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