Rugby Varsity build-up: meet the Bristol back row
Ahead of the Varsity clash, Rugby captain Steffan Jones profiles the Bristol players. Now it’s time for the back row
The final instalment of forwards sees us visit the back row, where the workhorses of the team operate. Growing up, back row forwards didn’t quite have enough flair to be backs, and didn’t quite have enough takeaways to be props.
A breeding ground for captains, a good back row is key to any great team – they love rucking, turnovers and more turnovers.
The Lowdown: Captain Conchie is the man that will be leading the Bristol Men out at Varsity. Possibly the edgiest captain of recent times, if you don’t recognise Henry it may be because you’re used to seeing him in his black and white, arty profile pictures (although rumour has it that the main reason for these are to get rid of his unwanted “milky” nickname).
But despite his fair features, Conchie has had a commendable season leading the way on the pitch, although more commendable are his exploits in taming head coach Matt Salter in selection discussions off it.
A more quiet character, Henry leads by example and is one of the team’s most consistent performers. Having been in the first team since his first year, the boys will be hoping that Conchie will use his experience to inspire them once more come March 31st.
What to expect: A captain’s performance all around the pitch, and a fantastic rendition of “Sloop John B” once Bristol lift the varsity cup once again!
The Lowdown: ‘Stocksy’ this season returned from his year abroad, and although his tan has all but disappeared, his enthusiasm and hark work has remained unwavered. Returning to UBRFC like a child in a sweetshop after lent, he made sure his return was noticed by all, with a loud voice in training and a louder voice at social.
Stocksy’s dogged style of play brings much-needed bite to the squad, as well as a very healthy contribution of tries. But on-field contributions aren’t his only forte. Jamie also kindly gives free atheism lectures on team buses, even if you didn’t ask for one! The infamous ‘Durham rant’ provided a fascinating moment for one lucky fresher in preseason (and by facinating I mean awkward; and by lucky I mean frightened).
Despite initially being an outsider for a consistent starting place this season, Stocksy has proven his worth as an important senior member and will be a valuable old head at Varsity.
Interesting Fact: Stocksy has almost single-handedly doubled the amount of broken glasses on Wednesdays at Roo Bar this year, with his new and exciting game of “catch” (the rules are simple).
What to expect: Physicality, tough tackling and a particular opinion on creationism.
The Lowdown: Fresher Max has had his fare share of nicknames this year, beginning in preseason where his interesting lid led to shouts of “David Luiz fresh” and “Sideshow fresh”.
This all came to a halt thanks to Stocksy’s handy work with the clippers, and attention was turned to his moody nature. Since accepting his final pseudonym of “Sulky Freshwell”, Max’s rugby career has taken off, and he has even earned call-ups to play for Bristol Rugby – no doubt due to the toughening up he received from the boys in preseason.
A tall, unmissable figure on the pitch, Max has proved himself as a permanent first-team member – an impressive accolade for any fresher.
Interesting Fact: Max attended local Clifton College, and even claims: “I’ve been necking girls in Lounge since I was 16”.
What to expect: Big runs and puppy dog eyes when being shouted at by coach Matt Salter
The Lowdown: Although he more closely resembles a 40 year old man, Jordan is actually another one of our freshers aiming for a first-year Varsity start. Starting the season in the 2s, he has since cemented a place in the first-team squad thanks to his hard work and undoubted talent.
You may recognise Jordan from Tyndall’s gym, a place he frequents more often than his lecture theatres (although this is probably more of a reflection of his few contact hours than his dedications to the gains). He can usually seen in overly tight clothes and making a suspicious amount of noise during sessions – and no coincidence that he is the son of Ben ‘windbag’ Wiegman (see second row profiles!).
Jordan has even been known to wear a Jamaica vest that he’s had since he was 14 along with a ‘matching’ denim cap. Yep – he’s that guy. But despite these faux pas, and his striking resemblance to Ron Jeremy (if you know, you know), Brodley is a very useful member of the squad, and his inclusion is a testament to his dedication and abilities.
Interesting Fact: Jordan recently changed allegiances to represent Scotland based on their current form (or lack of), he could well be in with a shout of being in their World Cup squad. But in all seriousness, it is great credit to him that he was selected for the u20s training squad earlier this season.
What to expect: Strong carries, expertise at the breakdown and a worryingly receding hairline.