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No end in sight yet for 35-year-old John Afoa, the former All Black at Bristol

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Harlequins' Joe Marler and Bristol's John Afoa walk down the tunnel together last February (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images for Harlequins)

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World Cup winner John Afoa has committed to Bristol Bears for a further season, extending his time at Ashton Gate until 2021.


The 35-year-old tighthead was named in the Gallagher Premiership team of the season in May after a remarkable maiden campaign for the Bears.

Afoa featured in every Premiership fixture for Lam’s men, topping the charts for most offloads and metres for a tighthead prop.

“I’m absolutely delighted that John has committed to another season with the Bears. He is a genuinely world-class performer, a shining example to our younger players and a leader in the camp,” said director of rugby Pat Lam.

“Not only does he perform consistently well, John’s preparation and attention to detail is always spot on. He understands what is required to be at the very top of the game and his knowledge and experience of this competition is second to none.

“John is one of the best scrummagers in the Premiership and he is a major attacking threat for us too – it’s a significant asset for us to have him in our armoury.”


A World Cup winner with the All Blacks in 2011, Afoa has enjoyed a distinguished club career so far, representing the Blues, Ulster and Gloucester before his switch to Bristol in 2018.

He added: “It was a fantastic first season for Bristol and an easy decision to extend for another year. I’ve been in a lot of different team environments, but the culture and togetherness that Pat Lam has instilled here is right up there with the best.

“I’d like to thank my wife Theresa, children Mateo, Chloe and Violet and my family overseas for their constant backing throughout my career. I have been away for nearly 10 years now and their support and understanding has been invaluable.

“I’m enjoying my rugby and contributing to the club vision. There’s lots of excitement about what the team can achieve and the quality of players that we have in the squad. We’re focused on kicking on now in the coming season and reaching those goals.”


Afoa’s deal follows Monday’s announcement that out-half Callum Sheedy has also signed a contract extension through 2022. 

WATCH: The Bear Pit, last year’s RugbyPass documentary on Bristol Bears

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