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John Afoa to move into coaching role with Bristol

By Ciarán Kennedy
Bristol's John Afoa. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Bristol Bears have announced that John Afoa will become the club’s new scrum coach. Afoa, 37, will take over from Alasdair Dickinson ahead of the 2021/22 season and will carry out the role alongside his playing commitments.

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Afoa recently signed a new one-year extension to his playing contract with the club.

Director of Rugby Pat Lam said: “Jonny has been planning and preparing for a few years to transition into coaching so I’m very pleased to add Jonny to our Coaching Team from next season.”

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“I first worked with Jonny back in 2004 and after playing over 450 first class games in both hemispheres, it’s fair to say he is hugely knowledgeable about the scrum and all its fine arts.

“Jonny is a massive leader, mentor and player for the Bears, and he has played a big part in driving our culture and performance on and off the field.

“He has the utmost respect from the players and management alike and I believe he will be an excellent addition to the coaching team and he’ll continue to add real value on and off the pitch.

“A big part of our culture is about growing our people from within. Jonny becomes the fourth member of our playing Leadership Group over the last four seasons to join the Management Team, following Nick Fenton-Wells as our Team Manager, Sam Jeffries as our Professional Development Manager and Jordan Crane as our Senior Transition Coach.”

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Afoa added: “This is an exciting step for me personally and I’m grateful to Pat for the opportunity. There’s a significant responsibility and it’s one that I’m relishing alongside representing the Bears on the field.

“We’ve developed a good reputation with our scrum so the impetus is on me to build on that and work with the guys to continue our growth in that area.”

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