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Two Prem clubs in hunt for £500k a year 'Championship' No.8 Hughes

By Ian Cameron
Nathan Hughes /Getty

Bristol Bears No.8 Nathan Hughes this week suffered the relative ignominy of being sent out to loan to Hartpury in the RFU Championship.

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With a purported annual salary of £500,000, Hughes instantly became the best-paid player in England’s second flight competition – but it looks like he won’t have to wait long to bounce back up into the Gallagher Premiership.

Two rival Premiership sides are said to be in the hunt for Hughes – who made a try-scoring bow for Hartpury this weekend in a 31 – 31 draw with London Scottish. “Nathan Hughes was clearly our best player.  It’s just a shame that nobody else stepped up to match his efforts,” said Director of Rugby John Barnes after the game.

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The Daily Mail write that Premiership strugglers Bath have made an approach to sign the Fijian born loose forward who signed to Pat Lam’s Bristol Bears back in 2019 from Wasps.

Bath have a number of injuries in the back row with Taulupe Faletau and Jaco Coetzee still absent with injury and Sam Underhill sustaining a concussion in his comeback match against Leinster in the Heineken Champions Cup yesterday, a game which also saw Scotland forward Josh Bayliss removed from the field in the opening 15 minutes.

According to reports, Bath may look to come to an agreement that would see Hughes make a mid-season switch to Stuart Hooper’s side.

Meanwhile, Neil Fissler in The Rugby Paper reports that Declan Kidney’s London Irish are also interested in the No.8.

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Standing at 6’5 and weighing in over 126kg, Hughes has found game time hard to come by in Bristol, where he has played just a handful of matches across the last three seasons. A persistent knee issue has, until recently, hampered his progress.

He went under the knife in 2020, but game time opportunities at Ashton Gate have been few and far between.

The 20-cap England No8 hasn’t played for Eddie Jones since 2018 and has said that he would be willing to use World Rugby’s new eligibility rules to declare for Fiji.

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M
Morne 10 hours ago
Thanks but no thanks, the All Blacks do not need to copy the Boks

Some further observations: Most Rugby lovers I know agree that the AB’s have been the gold standard for as long as anyone can remember - very few people disagree. The odd time that any other team has some sort of ascendency - there are always those (albeit the minority) NZ supporters that need to remind us of the AB’s glorious gold standard that anyone winning them is only down to a mixture of pure luck or some or other sinister reason or bias from match officials (or indeed the Universe). For reasons mentioned above, any other team with some ascendency over the AB’s (even if it is the 1st time in 100 years) may not receive a pat on the back and a well-done - as they only did so out of pure luck. In my opinion, if the Boks were in the same realm as the AB’s SF opponents - they would have been smashed also - whether with 14 or 13 or 12 players. But remember they were just “lucky”. As a Bok supporter, I will say this team has done our proud - despite losing some games along the way. Like the AB’s, the games the boks lose are 9/10 times one score games - this is a long way from hidings like 57 - 0…And in that we must be proud. Most of these type of articles - especially those focusing on the RWC final rather conveniently leave out any mention of Pieter Steph du Toit, or even Eben Etzebeth who won all their collusions all day long. So to those very very few bad loser AB supporters out there (definitely the minority) - I’ll say what you want to hear - the AB’s are without any doubt the best Rugby brand ever. They have consistently achieved what all other teams can only dream of. And no doubt they will scale those heights again. Now what about allowing others the odd ray of sunlight that comes our way?

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