Bristol Bears have moved to tackle their backline injury crisis by signing Coventry’s Henry Purdy on a short-term loan. 

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The New Zealander exited Gloucester in 2019 after scored 16 tries in 49 Premiership appearances, How now arrives at Ashton Gate from Coventry after what was a short-lived stint in the Championship where he scored three tries in five appearances.  

Bristol have been left without Siale Piutau (knee), Piers O’Conor (knee), Charles Piutau (knee), Will Hurrell (head), Luke Daniels (shoulder) and Charlie Powell (ankle), generating the need for Purdy’s acquisition.  

“We’re light in the centre position, so it’s good to be able to bring somebody of Henry’s quality and experience in right away,” said director of rugby Pat Lam to the Bristol Bears website. 

“Henry knows a lot of the boys in our environment and he comes with a desire to establish himself back in the Premiership. He’s been a standout performer in the Championship and also benefitted from a spell in Otago during the Mitre 10 Cup.”

(Continue reading below…)

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Second-tier Coventry weren’t surprised that Purdy form has caught the eye higher up the ranks after he joined this winter from Otago. “Henry has played well since he joined us, and I believe that it was only a matter of time before I would get a call from a Premiership club about him,”  said Coventry director of rugby Rowland Winter.

“Henry has not just played well in matches; he has also been a really good person to have around the club with his positive attitude towards his training and our work in general.

“We’re going to miss him, but it is also another good reflection of what we’re trying to achieve at Butts Park and we were not going to stop him achieving of playing back in the Premiership. We wish him every success with Bristol in the next chapter of his career.”

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