A trio of players who signed short-term contracts at Bristol for the conclusion of the 2019/20 Gallagher Premiership have been rewarded by Pat Lam as Niyi Adeolokun, Tom Kessell and Peter McCabe have all now signed one-year contracts to stay on with the Bears.
Scrum-half Kessell (two appearances) and wing Adeolokun (four appearances) both featured in the Challenge Cup final win over Toulon in Aix-en-Provence last month, while prop McCabe made three appearances in the Gallagher Premiership, scoring his maiden try for the club against Wasps at the Ricoh Arena.
Director of rugby Lam said: “All three of these guys have settled into the Bears culture well and made some positive contributions on the field, so we’re pleased to have them on board for the 2020/21 campaign.
“With another busy schedule ahead of us, and players set to be away on international duty or undergoing rehabilitation at the beginning of the new season, it’s important to ensure we have plenty of depth and cover in key positions.”
It was on August 27 following a costly Premiership defeat to eventual champions Exeter that Lam called for some reinforcements as injuries at that time to Jake Armstrong (ankle), Max Lahiff (head) and John Afoa (calf) had lightened their front row resources while wing Toby Fricker (groin) was also unavailable.
Trio sign one-year extensions at #BristolBears ??
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— Bristol Bears (@BristolBears) November 10, 2020
That Bristol casualty list left Lam on the lookout for short-term cover and of the players brought in, one was already very familiar to the coach as Adeolokun was part of the Connacht team that won the 2016 Guinness PRO12 with Lam at the helm prior to his 2017 move to England.
Adeolokun, who went on to be capped by Ireland on Lam’s watch and also play for the Barbarians when the Samoan was in charge, was released by Connacht during the recent lockdown.
"I pinched myself when I came back for the restart and we had people like Semi Radradra in the changing room. It’s crazy."@JoeJoyce94 talks childhood in Southmead, the influence of Pat Lam and making Bristol proud
— The XV (@TheXV) October 15, 2020
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