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Bristol take Pro D2 route again, making another offbeat signing

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

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Bristol boss Pat Lam has given the French Pro D2 another go as a recruiting ground, signing versatile forward Morgan Eames from Beziers a year after bringing in Antoine Frisch from Rouen, the midfielder who has since signed for Irish club Munster. The Bears have been looking for cover at lock following the departure of Dave Attwood to Bath for the 2022/23 season. 

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Eames spent three seasons at both Nottingham and Doncaster in the Championship before heading to France in the summer of 2020 and he now returns to England having made 33 appearances for Beziers across two seasons. Fifteen of his 20 starts were at lock, the other five at blindside.  

A Bristol statement read: “Versatile forward Morgan Eames has joined the Bears from French Pro D2 side Beziers. The English-qualified 27-year-old, who can operate in the second row and back row, has also represented Championship sides Nottingham and Doncaster Knights. Standing at 6ft 7ins and weighing in at 126kgs, Eames scored two tries in 17 appearances for Beziers during the 2021/22 season.”

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Bristol boss Pat Lam added: “Morgan is a big man, comfortable in the second and back row and will suit the way we play. He is a formidable operator and will bolster our depth. He is English-qualified and has been one of the standout forwards in Pro D2, so he arrives at the Bears hungry to take his opportunity in the Premiership.”

Eames said: “I’m hugely excited to be joining the Bears and can’t wait to get started. It’s a great opportunity for me to develop alongside world-class players and establish myself in one of the best competitions in the world.”

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Lam will hope Eames is as successful a recruit from the French second tier as Frisch, whose efforts in recent months at Bristol resulted in Munster offering a three-year deal. “We found him in Pro D2 really hungry for an opportunity and it is fair to say when he arrived there was a lot of work to do for him understanding the game defensively,” said Lam in April after a deal for Frisch to leave for Ireland was confirmed.

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There was no doubt that he had the attack. The attacking skills that he has got are excellent but twelve is quite a key position in our game. There was a lot for him to learn and fair play, by the time he got to the second half of the season he showed what he can do. He has still got a lot of work (to do) but he was Irish-qualified, English-qualified and French-qualified and the Irish union came in after our Saracens game (on March 26) with a very good deal.”

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