- Director of Rugby Andy Robinson re-signs players ahead of new campaign
- Home-grown star Luke Eves to stay at the club for another season
Photo: RFU Archive
Bristol Rugby have announced new contracts for five of their senior players ahead of their crunch RFU Championship fixtures against London Scottish and Newcastle Falcons, as the club seek a play-off spot.
Marking the start of Director of Rugby Andy Robinson’s preparations for the upcoming 2013/14 season, the former England and Scotland head coach has secured contracts with Rhys Lawrence, Ryan Edwards, Tristian Roberts, Luke Eves and Mark Lilley.
Hooker Lawrence arrived at the club from Llanelli Scarlets at the start of the 2011/12 season, and has since made 42 appearances for Bristol, scoring eight tries.
Commenting on Lawrence's contract extension, Robinson said: “Rhys works tirelessly, is ambitious and slots well into the squad dynamic.
“I’ve been impressed with what I have seen of Rhys so far, and he will play his part for Bristol Rugby next season.”
Meanwhile, 21-year-old winger Edwards has also extended his contract after a successful debut season, in which he scored six tries for the West Country club.
Edwards said: “I’m delighted to sign a new contract at Bristol Rugby – this season has been a fantastic learning curve for me, both on and off the field.
“I want to keep working hard and improving and I’m enjoying every game I play. There’s a positive environment at the club and I’m looking forward to playing my part.”
Easy decision to make – Roberts
Bristol will also have a wealth of options at fly half, with Tristian Roberts, Adrian Jarvis and Nicky Robinson competing for the number 10 shirt.
After agreeing terms for another year with Bristol, 26-year-old Roberts said: “It was an easy decision to make.
“The club’s ambition is huge and there is a hunger and drive about reaching the Aviva Premiership.
“I want to play at the highest level and I’m confident that I can do that here. There’s a great team spirit at Bristol and I’m delighted to remain a part of that.”
There was more good news for Bristol as home-grown centre Eves signed a new deal that will keep him at the club for the 2013/14 season.
The former England U20s captain has been at the club since 2005 and has made 94 appearances for Bristol, scoring 20 tries.
The 23-year-old has started every RFU Championship game this season and now sits eighth in the club’s all-time try scoring charts.
“Luke personifies the values that we hold at Bristol Rugby,” said Robinson. “He’s a home-grown talent who, particularly this season, has stepped up and proved his quality to the team.
“To start and finish every single league game so far is outstanding, it’s a measure of his importance to the side and his application on and off the field.”
The final player to sign a new contract with the promotion hopefuls is 25-year-old prop Lilley.
Lilley joined Bristol midway through the 2011/12 season, and has made 19 appearances for the club so far.
The former England U18 and U20 international said of his new contract: “I’m delighted to remain at the club – we’re at the start of a new challenge and it’s an exciting time to be here.
“It’s an exceptionally talented squad that Bristol are building, I’m relishing the prospect of challenging for a place in the starting line-up.”