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Bristol boosted by top-class signings

08 November 2011

  • Heineken Cup finalist joins the West Country side
  • Bristol boosted by New Zealand Maori scrum-half
Bristol announce the signing of Jason Harris-Wright and Ruki Tipuna

Photo: RFU Archive

RFU Championship contenders Bristol Rugby have announced the signing of two exciting additions to the squad in Justin Harris-Wright and Ruki Tipuna.

Harris-Wright, a former Ireland U20 player, is a product of Dublin’s Blackrock College and came through the ranks at Leinster Academy. He featured as a late replacement in Leinster’s 33-22 Heineken Cup final win over Northampton in May, replacing Richard Strauss in the 79th minute.

The hooker made twelve appearances for the Irish province since making his competitive debut against Edinburgh in October 2010, including three starts in the Magners League.

The 23 year-old played five times for Ireland U20s in the Junior World Championships in 2008, having previously represented Ireland U19s. Harris-Wright has also appeared for Leinster A in the British & Irish Cup on four occasions.

Head Coach Liam Middleton commented: "Jason’s a highly-rated hooker with Magners League experience. We’re fortunate to bring him in to provide competition in the front row."

Riki will fit into our culture quickly – Middleton

The Championship side have also bolstered their backline options further with the capture of scrum half Ruki Tipuna from Llanelli Scarlets.

The 28 year-old has represented New Zealand Sevens, widely regarded as the finest sevens team in the world, and New Zealand Maori. He has provincial experience with Bay of Plenty and Wellington, facing the British Lions on their 2005 tour.

Tipuna joined the Scarlets on a short-term contract in the summer of 2011, making his debut against Connacht in September. Providing cover for World Cup absentees, he made a total of six appearances for the Welsh province, including four starts in the RaboDirect Pro12.

Middleton said: "We’re pleased to add Ruki to the squad – he’s a talented player with International experience, representing New Zealand Maori in their victories against England and Ireland in 2010. He captained a very successful New Zealand Schoolboys team so he will bring some leadership to our group.

"Ruki is sharp around the fringes and will cause problems for opposition defences. I think his style will suit the way we want to play and I am sure he will fit into our culture very quickly."