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Super Rugby champion agrees Championship loan move

By Josh Raisey
Andrew Turner of Bristol Bears arrives for the Gallagher Premiership Rugby match between Northampton Saints and Bristol Bears at cinch Stadium at Franklin's Gardens on October 21, 2023 in Northampton, England. (Photo by Peter Nicholls/Getty Images)

Doncaster Knights have signed Bristol Bears loosehead prop Andrew Turner on a season-long loan.


The 22-year-old Bristol academy product has made nine appearances for the Bears since signing his first deal in 2021.

This will be the second loan spell of Turner’s career, as the former England U20 international enjoyed a short stint with the Crusaders in 2023 during their Super Rugby Pacific title-winning campaign, playing two matches for them.

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The Boks office team assess the Tony Brown factor on the SA game

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The Boks office team assess the Tony Brown factor on the SA game

Turner will join a Doncaster side that finished sixth in the Championship last season, but welcomed former British & Irish Lions boss Sir Ian McGeechan as consultant director of rugby midway through the season to help head coach Joe Ford.

Bristol, meanwhile, have already assembled for preseason, with the new Gallagher Premiership season starting in September.


“The most important factor in a young player’s development is game time, so this is a fantastic opportunity for Drew to get some regular exposure in a very competitive environment,” Bristol director of rugby Pat Lam said after Turner agreed his loan move.

“The Championship is a great competition for up-and-coming forwards to learn and develop their craft.


“The opportunity for Drew to work with my coaching mentor Sir Ian McGeechan and a quality young coach in Joe Ford will be great for his growth.

“The success of sending James Dun on a season-long loan spell with Jersey in the Championship and the way he has returned to be named forward of the season, just demonstrates the benefit of these loan spells in the right environment.”


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finn 6 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

What a difference 9 months makes! Last autumn everyone was talking about how important versatile bench players were to SA’s WC win, now we’re back to only wanting specialists? The timing of this turn is pretty odd when you consider that some of the best players on the pitch in the SA/Ireland match were Osbourne (a centre playing out of position at 15), Feinberg-Mngomezulu (a fly-half/centre playing out of position at 15), and Frawley (a utility back). Having specialists across the backline is great, but its not always necessary. Personally I think Frawley is unlikely to displace Crowley as first choice 10, but his ability to play 12 and 15 means he’s pretty much guaranteed to hold down a spot on the bench, and should get a decent amount of minutes either at the end of games or starting when there are injuries. I think Willemse is in a similar boat. Feinberg-Mngomezulu possibly could become a regular starter at 10 for the Springboks, but he might not, given he’d have to displace Libbok and Pollard. I think its best not to put all your eggs in one basket - Osbourne played so well at the weekend that he will hopefully be trusted with the 15 shirt for the autumn at least, but if things hadn’t gone well for him he could have bided his time until an opportunity opened up at centre. Similarly Feinberg-Mngomezulu is likely to get a few opportunities at 15 in the coming months due to le Roux’s age and Willemse’s injury, but given SA don’t have a single centre aged under 30 its likely that opportunities could also open up at 12 if he keeps playing there for Stormers. None of this will discount him from being given gametime at 10 - in the last RWC cycle Rassie gave a start at 10 to Frans Steyn, and even gave de Klerk minutes there off the bench - but it will give him far more opportunities for first team rugby.

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