TRANSFER NEWS | Bristol Bears sign Bath playmaker

Chris Cook will join Bristol Bears ahead of the 2020/21 campaign.

The scrum half joins Harry Randall, Andy Uren and England U20s Academy scrum half Blake Boyland in the squad for next season.

29-year-old Cook – who came through the Bath Rugby Academy – has made over 140 appearances for the Blue, Black and White.

Director of Rugby Pat Lam said: “Chris is an experienced Premiership performer and he adds real depth and quality to the scrum half position.

“What also impressed us about Chris is that he’s genuinely excited about the journey we are on as a club.  He’s looking forward to getting on our Bears bus and being part of our environment and adding value to keep the bus moving forward.

“To have four English qualified scrum halves competing for a starting berth is a real positive and reflects our Bears vision.”

A product of Millfield School, Cook has made 18 appearances for Bath so far this season and represented England Sevens in the summer of 2019.

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He added: “The opportunity to challenge myself at Bristol is one that excites me and it’s clear from the outside that it’s a club moving in a really positive direction.

“I’m grateful to Bath Rugby for everything they have done for my career and I’d like to sincerely thank the coaches, players and staff for their support over many years.

“It’s great to be staying in the West Country and I’m looking forward to the new chapter at Ashton Gate with the Bears.”


What a full strength Bristol Bears XV might look like next season

Although many more of the 40 plus squad could make an argument for inclusion, here’s a potential Bristol Bears XV ahead of the 2020/21 Gallagher Premiership season.

Player whose names are in italics are players Bristol are rumoured to be interested in, but are yet to be signed.

A POTENTIAL BRISTOL BEARS XV

1. John Afoa

A World Cup-winning All Black international of 36 caps, the experienced prop joined the club in 2018.

The tight-head was named in the Gallagher Premiership team of the season in 2018/19 after another remarkable campaign in the top flight.


2. Harry Thacker

A skillful dynamo of a hooker, Thacker was added to Pat Lam’s squad for the 2018/19 season.

In an impressive debut season that included a hat-trick versus Wasps and a scintillating brace versus Tigers, Thacker was listed in the Guardian team of the year.


3. Kyle Sinckler

The 26-year-old British & Irish Lions forward will switch Premiership clubs in the summer of 2020.

Sinckler, who made his professional debut for Quins in September 2011, was a key part of England’s 2019 World Cup side but only played three minutes of the final against South Africa after being knocked unconscious in a collision with team-mate Maro Itoje.


4. Chris Vui

The 24 year-old – who can play second row or back row – earned his first cap for Samoa during the 2016 November internationals.

Vui became the youngest captain in World Rugby when he skippered Samoa in 2017, before earning a spot in the Championship team of the season.

In 2019, Vui made his debut for the Barbarians following an impressive campaign for the Bears in the Gallagher Premiership.


5. George Kruis

A decade after his debut for Saracens, the 29-year-old Lion from Guildford is understood to be considering a career move to the Far East, having been there last autumn for the World Cup. 

However, if the Bears could convince Kruis to remain in the Gallagher Premiership and come to Ashton Gate, he would make their line-out imperious.

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