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Academy announces six inaugural scholars

Six players from the club’s U18 setup will become Bristol Bears’ inaugural Academy scholars from July 2020, joining the new programme which runs alongside the existing integrated Academy pathway.

The scholarship programme will see an additional group of players receive an opportunity to work with the club’s professional staff in order to maximise their potential to become full time professional rugby players.

Benjy Joseland (Clifton College), Chay Mullins (SGS Filton), Harry Rowson (Bristol Grammar School), Charlie Rice (SGS Filton), George Perry (SGS Filton) and Aaron Thompson (SGS Filton) all join the scholarship programme having featured in the U18 squad earlier this season.

“This is a really exciting opportunity for this group of players to hone their skills and test their ability to cope with the demands of the professional environment,” said Senior Academy Manager, Gethin Watts.

“This scholarship programme gives us additional time with a group of guys who we know are very talented. The players will be contracted to the club, we will be working hard to establish a personalised work and study programme also.

"As well as a daily training environment, we will be working with local employers and colleges to ensure that the players are gaining applied experience in their chosen field of study and interest whilst also playing for their club teams on the weekend.”

To find out more about the scholarship programme, click here.

Benjy Joseland - wing/full back

A tall and rangy back three player, Benjy Joseland joined the Academy at U13 whilst studying at Clifton College, attending the Developing Player Programme centre at The Bridge Learning Campus.

He was included in the PDG programme towards the end of the U15 season, and although being injured for most of his U17 year, Joseland impressed for the Bears U18s in 2019/20.

Chay Mullins - full back/wing

A pacey and elusive back three player, Ireland U18 international, Mullins is a former student at St Mary Redcliffe and Temple School and has recently graduated from SGS Filton.

Playing his junior rugby at Keynsham RFC, Mullins was in the Academy DPP at Bridge Learning Campus.

He played a big part in the Bears U18s journey to the Academy League Finals Day, with a series of eye-catching displays.

George Perry - prop

A physical, pacey and powerful front row forward, Perry attended Taunton School before doing his Sixth Form at SGS College, having played his junior rugby for Taunton RFC.

Perry attended the PDG at Bridgwater and has developed further at SGS Filton, with his growing maturity and self-awareness key to his progress on to the scholarship programme.

Harry Rowson - centre

An incisive runner from midfield, Rowson starred at the Academy League finals day with a sensational hat-trick against Newcastle Falcons at Sixways.

A product of Bristol Grammar School and Clifton RFC, Rowson was originally a scrum half before making the switch to centre.

An accomplished defender with the superb ability to make regular line breaks.

Charlie Rice – second row

England U18 international, Rice made his senior debut for Bristol Bears A against Harlequins in this season’s Premiership Shield competition.

The former St Katherine’s School pupil played his club rugby at Gordano Sharks, before attending SGS Filton.

The committed, physical and uncompromising lock is another standout player from the U18 Academy League campaign.

Aaron Thompson - prop/hooker

Equally adept at prop or hooker, Thompson’s outstanding work ethic and attitude saw him become an integral part of the Academy U18 setup, during a season that saw him flourish.

The former Worle School pupil attended the PDG at Weston and Bridgwater, playing his club rugby for Winscombe RFC and graduating SGS Filton.

Focussed, determined and committed, Thompson has been a fine ambassador for the DPP and PDG programmes.