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Author

Will Carpenter

writes

Posted Wednesday, March 21st 2018

‘The future is bright, and I want to be here for the long run - Thomas

After grasping his opportunity with both hands, Dan Thomas intends to hang on to the number seven shirt ‘for the long-run’, after agreeing a two-year extension to his Bristol Rugby contract.

The industrious flanker, who joined from West Country rivals, Gloucester in the summer, has been a standout performer for Pat Lam’s side this season, making 17 first team appearances.

And the 24-year-old insists he is relishing his time at Ashton Gate.

“I’m very happy at Bristol,” said Thomas. “I’ve been playing quite regularly throughout the season and I sat down with Pat and said I wanted to be in it for the long run, so he agreed and I’m happy to sign a new contract.

“I knew what my capability was - it was just about having the opportunity, being able to work with the coaches and being consistent in my performances.

“I’m happy with the way I’m playing this season, and very happy playing with the boys as well. I’m really enjoying being a part of everything at Bristol.

Dan Thomas touches down against Cardiff Blues Premiership Select XV in the British & Irish Cup (JMP UK).

“Coming down from Gloucester, where I didn’t have much opportunity, to being here and getting the opportunity – I’ve taken that and haven’t looked back.

“I’ve got a very good team around me to help me out – there’s plenty of experience and all of us are bouncing off each other. It’s a good mixture and things are going well.”

At 6ft tall and weighing 100kg, Thomas is well aware that, when it comes to back-row forwards, he weighs in at the lower end of the scales - but the Carmarthen-born open side insists pace and power are far more pertinent attributes.  

“Turnovers and being a ‘fetcher’ is an element of my game I work hard on, but I also want to be a link-man between the backs and the forwards,” he said.

“Pace is a massive thing that I want to work on in my game as well, because at the end of the day, I’m not the biggest of sevens so if I’m a yard quicker than everyone else, I can get away from the bigger players.”

“I knew what my capability was - it was just about having the opportunity, being able to work with the coaches and being consistent in my performances.
I’m happy with the way I’m playing this season, and very happy playing with the boys as well. I’m really enjoying being a part of everything at Bristol."

Dan Thomas

A series of striking performances in the hoops have seen Thomas become an instant hit with the Ashton Gate faithful – and the feeling is certainly reciprocated.

“It’s been crazy. Coming down from the Shed in Gloucester, I didn’t expect many crowds to be able to compare to that – but at Ashton Gate - and even at pre-season games at Clifton - the fans have been very supportive, before, during and after matches. It’s a great atmosphere.

“We’ve got everything in place here, with the new training facility being built as well.

“I’m very happy with how things are going and very excited for the future with Bristol Rugby.”