Academy product Ryan Edwards admits extending his stay at Bristol Rugby was an easy decision after putting pen to paper on a new contract at Ashton Gate.
Edwards is experiencing playing in Aviva Premiership Rugby for the first time this campaign after helping Bristol to promotion from the Championship after a seven-year absence last season.
The 26-year-old has made 11 league appearances and scored on his top-flight debut against Harlequins on the opening weekend.
Bristol are fighting tooth and nail to ensure they stay don’t slip straight back to the Championship, but whatever happens in the remainder of the season, Edwards is excited about what lies ahead for his club, especially with Connacht head coach Pat Lam taking charge during the summer.
— Bristol Rugby (@Bristol_RFC) April 11, 2017
Edwards said: “It was an easy decision for me to stay. I’ve been at this club a long time, so I know what it means to the city and to the fans.
“It’s a great place to play rugby and I’m really looking forward to Pat Lam coming in.
“Either way, I would have committed to Bristol Rugby because I graduated through the academy, so I feel that loyalty to the club – it’s been pretty good to me and it’s given me my opportunity.
“You can see how much top flight rugby has meant to the fans this season. We’ve been getting over 10,000 people into Ashton Gate and we’ve got a fantastic stadium, possibly the best in the Premiership.”
Bristol’s survival bid was dealt a blow at the weekend after Thomas Waldrom’s late try condemned them to a 38-34 defeat at Exeter Chiefs on Saturday.
This came after they had led 24-10 late in the first half and the two bonus points picked up at Sandy Park mean they are eight points adrift at the bottom of the table with just three matches remaining.
— Premiership Rugby (@premrugby) April 11, 2017
That means Sunday’s home game against league-leaders Wasps is a must-win for Bristol, who were beaten 70-22 by the same opponents in the reverse fixture in September.
But Edwards believes his side are much-improved since then, adding: “You can see the progress over the season, we’ve improved week on week, especially defensively.
“We’ve got a good side and ultimately, we’re going to play for each other again at the weekend.
“We’ve got good players and we’ve got a good [squad of] 23 and I think we could cause them a few problems.
“We get a fantastic crowd every week and we’ll be expecting another big crowd on Sunday who will get behind the boys, as they always do, and will always be in good voice.
“We’re just going to concentrate on turning up and putting in 100 per cent effort.”
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