Bristol have begun their unexpected two-week layoff by announcing the signing of Saracens scrum-half Tom Whiteley on a two-year deal. With their European games postponed on Monday, Pat Lam has given his squad a break from training.
However, that hasn’t stopped off-field business at the club from continuing, Lam snapping up the 25-year-old in time for the 2021/22 campaign.
Speaking about the recruitment of Whiteley, who has made 49 appearances for ex-Premiership champions Saracens and scored 91 points, Lam said: “Competition and quality depth right across all positions is crucial for our continued growth.
“Tom has the hunger and ambition to compete with the scrum-halves we have here already. His skill set and talent certainly complement the way we like to play the game. To add another young, talented scrum-half to our squad is exciting and Tom will ensure that we keep raising the bar and standard in all positions as we strive to be world-class in everything we do.”
Bristol report that Whiteley caught the eye during his time at Millfield School, playing alongside Callum Sheedy, where he was awarded player of the tournament for the Rosslyn Park HSBC National Schools 7s in 2014.
— Bristol Bears (@BristolBears) January 12, 2021
Whiteley said: “I’m excited by the opportunity at Bristol Bears. Everybody can see the direction the club is heading and the ambition that Pat Lam and the team are showing in their game. You feel a fantastic wave of energy simply when you walk into the new Bears high performance centre. I’m looking forward to continuing my development as a player and realising my full potential in that environment.”
Lam’s decision to bring in a scrum-half comes less than a week after he was effusive in the praise regarding the progress of Harry Randall, the No9 who has been linked with possible England and Wales Test level call-ups. “Pound for pound he is one of the best tacklers I have seen. You will struggle to see him miss tackles and you see him do double, triple efforts… he’s a tough bugger and I believe without a doubt he has got a huge future in the game and certainly will one day grace the international stage.”
"Pound for pound he is one of the best tacklers I have seen"
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) January 9, 2021
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