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Will Carpenter

writes

Posted Tuesday, March 20th 2018

Pride, promotions and pastures new – departing physio Eoin Power reflects on Bristol journey

Eoin Power joined Bristol Rugby as a fresh-faced intern in January 2013. Five years later, the first team physio says the club ‘holds a special place in his heart’ as prepares to depart for pastures new.

The Irishman isn’t going far – joining West Country rivals Gloucester, where he hopes to come up against his former employers in the Aviva Premiership. And the highly-popular physio, known for his positive outlook, says the club is one in a million. 

“I knew nothing about the club when I joined, but it’s in my heart forever,” he said.

“You’ve got such a range of supporters who don’t care how they look in a stadium, they are not there for the prawn sandwiches, they are there for the cans of Natch and the sing-a-long.

“They’re great people and they are so motivated to support the club, and travel everywhere to do so.”

Eoin Power (middle) with colleagues Jemma Gardner (left) and Rory Murray (right) before his final home game with the club (JMP UK).

From intern, Power was soon appointed Academy physiotherapist, during which time he treated and worked with the club’s rising stars. Some of the youngsters have gone on to achieve big things - whether at Bristol, or elsewhere - but it’s not just their on-field accomplishments that fill the Irishman with immense pride.

“With my role in the Academy, I always wanted to make sure it was more than just medical and more than just rugby development. So, some of the real highlights have been seeing these guys develop into great men – whether or not they’re playing full-time now, or studying. Some have gone on to other clubs and done unbelievably well, others are plying their trade at different Championship clubs and trying to get back to the Premiership. But it’s just how they conduct themselves, and every time I see them, they impress me more and more.

“The way those guys conduct themselves, makes me proud to have been involved with them.

“There’s always lows and highs and you’ve got to recognise when someone is down or low - then you just rally around them. But then there are also the times when guys are moping around and feeling sorry for themselves – and they probably need a kick in the arse, and it’s how you deliver that – respectfully – but you make sure you take aim and kick as hard as you can.”

“I knew nothing about the club when I joined, but it’s in my heart forever. I’m excited for a different challenge, but I’ll find it difficult not to support Bristol in every one of their games - apart from Gloucester, of course - because it’s such a remarkable club.”

Eoin Power

Highs and lows – of which there have been many – create a rollercoaster highlights reel from Power’s time at Bristol Rugby. And while he heads off on a new journey, he says he will be eternally grateful for the opportunities afforded to him.

“I’ve achieved more than I thought I ever would while I’ve been at Bristol. Being a physio in the Premiership was an absolute dream from when I was a kid.

“It’s testament to the club and coaches while I’ve been here for promoting from within. Their trust in their medical staff has been second to none, so you knew if you proved yourself, that was enough.

“From there, I was able to progress through the ranks to become first team physio.

“There have been so many great highlights. Beating Worcester in the first game of the season at Ashton Gate in 2015 stands out.

Eoin Power shares a joke with the squad during the pre-season of 2016 (JMP UK).

“The low points, they’re all forgotten about. They say if you keep coming back to do this, year in, year out, you have to have a short memory.

"The heartache you have when you lose to the likes of Worcester or London Welsh – that’s forgotten about in the first day of pre-season, when you’re comforting someone who’s being sick during the bleep test, or slagging someone off because they came back from Ibiza with a bad haircut – the thing moves on so quickly, you can’t wallow in self-pity.

“I’m excited for a different challenge, but I’ll find it difficult not to support Bristol in every one of their games - apart from Gloucester, of course - because it’s such a remarkable club.”