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Young Guns: Bristol Bears & England U20 hooker Will Capon

Will Capon

Pat Lam’s stated intent is to inject more homegrown talent into his Bristol side, and one young man making a solid impression this season is hooker Will Capon.

Born in Southmead and brought up in Wrington, a stone’s throw from Bristol Airport, Capon came through the ranks at Winscombe Rugby Club and attended Bristol Grammar School before joining Bristol’s academy and making his way in the game from there.

A summer tourist with England U20s at this year’s Junior World Cup in Argentina, Capon has long been on the Red Rose age group radar and recently also came to prominence in the Premiership after making his debut late on in Bristol’s dramatic win at Exeter.

An incredible climax in hugely pressurised circumstances saw Capon’s long throw land right on the money to set up Bristol’s match-clinching try. He said: “I only got ten minutes but there was a huge emotional high coming off that match. Exeter were the team we couldn’t beat last year so to do that on their ground – and make my debut – was pretty awesome.

“Last year was quite difficult after I dislocated my shoulder in December. That pretty much wiped me out and I missed the U20s Six Nations, but I grafted hard and got back for the World Cup. That was an incredible trip with a really good bunch of boys and it’s felt like I’ve gone from strength to strength since then. I’m really glad Pat’s backing me with chances.”

Having recently turned 20, a by-product of Capon’s England experience has seen his leadership skills improve. He explained: “The World Cup gave me a really good opportunity to see where I was physically against my contemporaries from around the world, and it was also a chance to challenge my leadership skills along with Leicester prop Joe Heyes.

“We were made responsible for our scrum plans, which entailed previewing opposition scrums and taking ownership of that, which is something you don’t often have at club level where you have vastly experienced guys like John Afoa and Harry Thacker. It’s given me a lot more confidence to do it within the Bristol environment now and develop from there.”

As for role models, Capon adds: “I really admire Jamie George, especially how he operates at lineouts because his consistency of process is incredible to watch. In open play there are some pretty good hookers in the world and Dane Coles is one of them, so there are aspects from both those players I’d like to take and keep working into my own game.

“At Bristol, Tom Lindsay and Aly Muldowney looked after me last year and I was really grateful for that. Aly taught me a lot about attack, defence and breakdown while Tom was a very good sounding board for all my set-piece work-ons. He gave me good throwing advice and it was great to be able to nail that big throw against Exeter the other week.

“My aim is to really kick-on with Bristol Bears now.”

NEALE HARVEY

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