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Tyrese Johnson-Fisher set for Bristol debut after American football sojourn

By Alex Shaw
Tyrese Johnson-Fisher in action four years ago for Oakham (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

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After spending a season playing American football in the US with Coastal Carolina University, Tyrese Johnson-Fisher is set to make his senior rugby debut for Bristol Bears on Saturday.


The 20-year-old, who came through Leicester Tigers’ academy, came to global awareness in 2015 when videos of him dancing through opposing sides for Oakham at the under-15s level went viral and caused plenty of excitement the world over.

The Jamaica sevens representative didn’t immediately sign a professional contract with a Premiership rugby side when he left Oakham in 2018, though, as he instead opted to try his luck in a different oval ball code and spent the season red shirting at Coastal Carolina.

He returned to rugby in 2019, however, when he signed a professional contract with Bristol in August. The Bears are set to take on Exeter Chiefs at Sandy Park this weekend in the Premiership Cup and Johnson-Fisher has been named on the bench.

Although his experiences in men’s 15-a-side rugby have been limited, he did represent Jamaica in their HSBC World Sevens Series qualifier at the Hong Kong Sevens back in 2018. He has also posted times of 10.72 in the 100 metres and brings enviable speed, agility and footwork to the mix for Bristol.

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His involvement for the Bears this weekend comes alongside plenty of the club’s academy products, with director of rugby Pat Lam also opting to include Charlie Powell, James Dun, George Kloska, John Hawkins, James Bates, Will Capon, Ollie Dawe and Ioan Lloyd in the 23.

This will be the last run out of the season before the Premiership campaign proper starts, with Bristol set to entertain Bath in the season opener at Ashton Gate on October 18.

If Johnson-Fisher can find his feet in rugby once again and bring the physical and attacking gifts he has to the table, his signing could prove to be a coup for Bristol, who are not only looking to build their squad around an English and Bristolian core, but also fully cement themselves as a Premiership side following a number of years in the Greene King IPA Championship.

WATCH: Scottish Rugby Union chief executive Mark Dodson vows to fight off moves to cancel Sunday’s vital clash with Japan

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