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Leinster hooker Bryan Byrne joins Bristol on permanent basis

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Bryan Byrne has left Leinster

Bryan Byrne has left Leinster

SPORTSFILE

Bryan Byrne has left Leinster

Leinster hooker Bryan Byrne has joined Bristol on a permanent basis, having initially linked up with the club on a short-term loan deal prior to rugby going into lockdown.

Although playing just one Premiership game, Byrne made a very good impression on everyone at the club, particularly Pat Lam, who is delighted to sign the Carlow native on a one-year deal.

The 26-year old found game time hard to come by at Leinster, and with the emergence of Ronan Kelleher and Dan Sheehan, who has just signed a professional contract despite not having yet featured for the senior team, Byrne decided to seek opportunities elsewhere.

Lam has turned around the fortunes of the big-spending Bristol, who are a club going places in a hurry.

Byrne played 47 games in six years with his home province, and has previously represented Ireland at underage level. His twin brother Ed, recently signed a fresh deal with Leinster.

“I thoroughly enjoyed my short spell at Bristol, and I’m delighted to be joining the club on a permanent basis,” Byrne said.

“Everybody at the club was so welcoming during my time in the city – there’s a fantastic togetherness here. It’s great to be back and to be part of the journey moving forward.

“I’m looking forward to working with Pat and the rest of the coaching team and helping contribute towards the club’s vision.”

Lam, who has spent the last three years with Bristol since ending his successful stint in Connacht, believes Byrne is an ideal fit for the English outfit.

“Bryan made a very positive impression during his short time with us earlier in the season, and we’re delighted to have signed him on a permanent basis,” Lam maintained.

“Bryan has a lot of top-level experience, including in the Champions Cup. To play nearly 50 times for a club like Leinster is a huge achievement and shows his pedigree.

“His signing further bolsters our depth and competition, joining Harry Thacker, Will Capon and George Kloska in the hooker position.”

Meanwhile, Nick Tompkins has become the latest Saracens player to depart on a season-long loan deal, before returning to the Championship-bound club.

Saracens have been forced to offload several of their assets ahead of their relegation, and Tompkins, who was capped by Wales during this year's Six Nations will link up with the Dragons.

The Dragons have made huge strides in the transfer market ahead of the season's restart in August, and Tompkins is the latest exciting addition to the Welsh side's squad.

“I am really looking forward to joining the Dragons,” the 25-year old centre said.

“The region is clearly making great progress, under the guidance of Dean Ryan, and I am really excited about contributing to the cause.”

Online Editors