Bristol Bears signed the 111 time capped openside on a six-month deal back in June and Mark Tainton believes the 37-year-old will prove to be a pivotal signing ahead of their return to the Premiership.
Tainton told RugbyPass: “I knew George when I did a year at Wasps on a consultancy with Dai Young there. He’s world class. I’ll say to people that the reason he’s world class is he doesn’t believe he knows everything. He’s still like a sponge. He still wants to improve and get better and better.”
“It’s not only what he can do on the field for us, it’s what he can do off the field as well,” continued Tainton. “We’ve got some young sevens in the squad as well, we’ve obviously got Dan Thomas who was probably one of our outstanding players last year. It’s not going to be just an easy run for George to be playing week in, week out.”
“He arrives on the 20th of this month. He’s the last player in, every player’s back next week bar our Samoan players who’ve got to play in a World Cup qualifier. We should have an interesting training field next week.”
Bristol have drawn a home match on the opening Friday night of the season to host old westcountry rivals Bath in what should be a mouthwatering clash. Tainton told RugbyPass, “For us, it’s fantastic, to have a derby match as our opening game. We’ve got a tremendous stadium we share with Bristol City, it’s a big stadium. Teams like Bath we want to bring down to Bristol and fill the stadium as much as we can. If we can put on a show in the opening game of the season, that’ll kick on then for our next home game and then after that.”
Meanwhile Bristol Bear’s skipper Jordan Crane has credited life in the Championship as a suitable ground to “fine-tune” his side to prepare for life in the new Gallagher Premiership.
Following a first season without the play-offs in English rugby’s second tier, Bristol Bears have had ample time to prepare for promotion with Pat Lam signing 21 new players for the new Premiership campaign.
Crane told RugbyPass that the new squad has taken positively to pre-season, “In my whole career, it’s probably the sharpest that a squad have come back. There’s a lot of competition in the squad. Everyone’s a little worried about that and everyone’s a little bit worried about their prep and stuff like that, the step-up. We need it to be [like that] so we can crack straight into rugby and get ourselves right.”
Crane continued, “We’ve had a season to embed everything that we want to do – try and test everything that we need to do so we’re a better team when we come into the Premiership.”
“We’ve had that luxury to be away from the spotlight and fine tune the stuff that we need to. So hopefully this year we’ll be a lot better team and a lot better prepared going into the Premiership.”
Bristol Bears will open the new Gallagher Premiership season with a cracking tie at Ashton Gate as they their West Country rivalry with Bath Rugby on Friday 31st August.
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