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Bristol Bears sign another Championship jewel ahead of 2022/23 season

By John Evely

Bristol Bears have surprised no one by offering Championship jewel Rich Lane on a two-year deal following an impressive loan spell at Ashton Gate Stadium.

The full-back joined on loan from Championship side Bedford Blues in February and made five eye-catching appearances for the Bears, scoring one try before breaking his foot in his European Heineken Champions Cup debut against Sale.

The 28-year-old, who captained Bedford and was named in the Championship Team of the Season in 2021, will make the switch ahead of the 2022/23 campaign.

READ MORE: Bristol Bears CEO and club legend to depart following salary cap errors

Bristol director of rugby Pat Lam said: “Rich has taken his opportunity with both hands and has embraced the Bears way on and off the field. His performances show that he is a Premiership fullback with excellent game understanding and we are excited to have him with us full time.

“Rich has consistently been one of the leading performers in the Championship and it’s a credit to the structures and environment in place at Bedford Blues that he has stepped up a level seamlessly.”

With superstar Charles Piutau in contract at the Bears next season but still nursing a seemingly incurable niggling Achilles issue, having specialist cover at full-back along with Ioan Lloyd is vital for Lam.

Lane added: “I’d heard a lot of great things about Bristol before I arrived, but I’ve been blown away by the culture and togetherness of the entire organisation.

"There’s a lot that we believe we can achieve as a group, so it’s an exciting time to be part of the journey.

“I’m extremely grateful to Mike Rayer and Bedford Blues for allowing me the initial opportunity to test myself again in a Premiership environment."

"Bedford will always hold a special place in my heart and I must thank the players, staff and supporters for everything they have given me during my time at the club.”

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