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Bears Women retain services of six Wales internationals

Bristol Bears Women is delighted to announced that Elinor Snowsill, Siwan Lillicrap, Keria Bevan, Manon Johnes, Lauren Smyth and Caryl Thomas have all signed new contracts with the club.

All six have varying levels of experience at international level - Elinor Snowsill (56 caps), Caryl Thomas (52 caps), Siwan Lillicrap (34 caps), Keira Bevan (34 caps), Lauren Smyth (12 caps), Manon Johnes (10 caps) - with five of the group featuring for their country as recently as the 2020 Six Nations tournament.

Having announced the re-signings of four Red Roses’ internationals earlier this week, Kim Oliver has now retained the services of all 10 international players from the 2019/20 playing pool.

Bristol Bears Women Head Coach, Kim Oliver, said: “It’s fantastic that all six talented internationals have committed to the club ahead of the new season.

“Whilst we didn’t get to see this group in a Bears shirt as much as we would have liked last season, we know how much heart, talent and leadership this group possesses and the difference they can make to the club.”


Elinor Snowsill

The Wales and Barbarian out-half is entering eighth season at Bristol and brings a plethora of skills to the number 10 jersey.

Her organisational skills combined with her rugby intelligence has the ability to put her side on the front foot at the flick of a switch via picking out the run of one of her teammates or a moment of individual brilliance.

Snowsill added: "I'm really excited to be continuing my rugby journey as a Bristol Bear in what will be a huge year for women's rugby.

“The club has been my home for the past 8 years and I’m extremely grateful for their continued loyalty and support. I just can’t wait to get back on the pitch with the squad."


Siwan Lillicrap

Lillicrap’s warrior spirit shone through this season when she featured for the Bears with bullish performances in the pack, where her tenacious attitude made her a danger on both side of the ball.

She is a leader in the true sense of the word having captained her country throughout the 2020 Six Nations campaign and the 32-year-old will provide great leadership in the Bears front eight next season.

Lillicrap said: “I’m very excited to have re-signed with the Bears for the upcoming season.

“I was really impressed with the environment last year, and really looking forward to being part of the team again.

“The girls are brilliant and very much looking to being pushed to my best ability. I believe it’s an environment that I can excel in and we can achieve great things as a team this year.”


Keira Bevan

The lively scrum half made an immediate impact in her debut season for the Bears crossing the whitewash on 6 occasions.

Bevan delivers the ball with speed and precision, whilst possessing the ability to turn a game on its head with darting runs around the breakdown to kickstart free-flowing attacks.

Bevan added: “I’m delighted to have re-signed for the Bears ahead of the upcoming season.

“I feel as though it’s an environment where I am surrounded by great players that push you to take your game to the next level and I’m excited to see what we can achieve this season."


Lauren Smyth

The evasive back three runner burst on to the Premier 15s scene in the opening round against Saracens at Shaftesbury Park where her devastating footwork caused the champions plenty of headaches.

Her scything running lines and awareness in the back field makes her a well-rounded back three player that is set to excel in the 2020/21 season.

Smyth said: “I’m really looking forward to the season ahead with Bristol Bears Women.

“Re-signing with Bristol was an easy decision with professional coaching and an amazing set-up at Shaftesbury Park - being part of the Bears family is a great feeling.”


Manon Johnes

The 19-year-old flanker has had to bide her time in her maiden campaign with the Bears, however, when Johnes has had her opportunity she has grasped it with both hands.

No matter who is in front of the openside, Johnes makes every tackle with the same ferocity and sets the defensive marker for her team-mates to follow.

Johnes added: "I’m very happy to be resigning with Bristol after joining last season.

"I love the environment and the professionalism at Bristol and have learnt so much in the past year.

"I’m very excited to continue my development as a player and a person at the Bears over the coming season and look forward to getting back with the girls."


Caryl Thomas

With over 50 caps for Wales, Thomas brings a wealth of experience to the front row department at the Bears.

Dominant in the scrum and a strong ball carrier, Thomas gives the Bears go-forward ball whilst also being a big motivator in the dressing room.

Thomas said: “Bristol is a club close to my heart full of great people. I’m excited for what’s to come for women’s rugby and I’m delighted I’ll be experiencing it at the Bears.

“We have a fantastic set-up at Shaftesbury Park and I’m looking forward to seeing how much further we can progress and develop as a playing group next season with the increased levels of professionalism at the club.”


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