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Will Carpenter

Will Carpenter writes

Posted Friday, October 15th 2021

Jack Bates: 'I'm learning every day'

Jack Bates is determined to take his opportunity with both hands after being named at outside centre for the Bears’ Gallagher Premiership round five clash with Newcastle Falcons at Kingston Park on Saturday (3pm KO).

Xledger are principal partner of the Bristol Bears Academy.

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The 20-year-old Academy graduate, who starred in England U20’s Six Nations Grand Slam campaign last summer, is set for his eighth first team appearance for the Bears – and his first in midfield – in the North East.

And Bates is focused on maximising his selection against a tough Falcons side this weekend.

“I'm buzzing to be involved on Saturday - I played most of my junior rugby at outside centre, so to have that opportunity in the Premiership is huge for me," said Bates.

"I'm learning all the time here, working with Pat and the coaches, and the experienced backs we've got in the squad - Sheedy, Luke Morahan, Semi Radradra, Piers O'Conor. For a young player, the best way for me to learn is to watch these guys on a day to day basis and when I get the opportunity to play, I need to step up and perform.

"We know that Newcastle will be a huge challenge, especially away from home, so we head north focused on bouncing back from last week's defeat."

“Having come through the age groups and the Academy setup, it's a proud moment each and every time I pull on the Bears shirt."

Jack Bates

Bates, who played his club rugby at Combination side, Cleve RFC and attended St Brendan’s College before moving to SGS College, joined the Bears setup aged 15.

The versatile back is one of 10 Academy graduates and 11 Bristolians in this weekend’s matchday squad, and says he is proud to represent his boyhood club.

“Having come through the age groups and the Academy setup, it's a proud moment each and every time I pull on the Bears shirt. The big thing I have learned is about my preparation - how I analyse the opposition, all of the extras I need to do make sure I'm ready for the weekend. All of the detail in our game and what the opposition is going to bring, so watching clips and putting the work in."

Bates headed into the 2021/22 season off the back of a Six Nations Grand Slam with England U20, with the centre scoring in an emphatic victory over Italy at Cardiff Arms Park - and he believes the title-winning campaign has been huge for his development.

"It was such a great thing to be a part of and I've made some friends for life in that squad. The back-to-back games brought some real energy to the tournament and to win it as well was pretty special."


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