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The logic behind Bristol switching 21-year-old rookie Kloska from hooker to prop

By Liam Heagney

Trending on RugbyPass

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Pat Lam has explained the thinking behind the decision of title-chasing Bristol to transition 21-year-old hooker George Kloska into a loosehead for the 2021/22 season. The home-grown front-rower made his first Gallagher Premiership start in the New Year’s Day home win over Newcastle.

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However, despite the lengthy absence of Harry Thacker through injury, integrated academy prop Kloska appeared just twice more off the bench as the Bears snapped up free agent Jake Kerr in April to help fuel their run to No1 on the table.

That first-place finish will see Bristol host Harlequins in the semi-finals this Saturday but they have already been making plans for the next season that will get underway in September, confirming the eight players who are leaving and adding as a footnote what their ambitious idea for Kloska is.    

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The Bears website last week simply stated: “Homegrown front-rower George Kloska will be transitioning from a hooker into a loosehead prop.” But Lam this week put some meat on the bone when asked by RugbyPass to explain the logic behind the proposed switch for the 6ft, 112kg forward who has been with the club academy since the age of 13. 

“He is a back-rower that went to hooker and the key for us, for George going through it, when you see George play he is physical, a real physical Bristol boy,” explained the coach who was voted the Premiership’s best director of rugby for the 2020/21 season.  

“The challenge for George and the No1 role for the hooker is the throwing. He has only just developed that and tried to develop that and go through, but it is fair to say a lot of times we haven’t selected him is because the lineout is such a big part (of our game) and George still had a lot of work to do. 

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“It’s a shame with Covid and not getting many games outside of the first team, but George is ready to play Premiership rugby because he is physical, he can carry and he is a tough bugger. He is a really tough Bristolian so it’s something that John Muldoon, Alasdair Dickinson, myself and Jordan Crane have talked to him about it and he was keen.

“He will keep working on the throwing but his whole mindset and attitude is suited for the front row anyway and the development into a loosehead, because he is a big boy anyway and he can add a bit more over this pre-season, will certainly give him more chance of playing Premiership rugby faster than going into hooker.”

 

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The logic behind Bristol switching 21-year-old rookie Kloska from hooker to prop

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