Mitch Eadie’s father Jim is a legend at the Memorial Stadium for his exploits in the round-ball game but after a flying start to the season the 20-year-old is on his way to matching his old man with the oval ball.
Eadie senior racked up more than 200 appearances as goalkeeper for Bristol Rovers and tried to persuade his son to follow in his footsteps with the Gas.
However, after Bristol coach Liam Middleton raved about Eadie junior’s impressive recent displays, it’s clear that the youngster made the right call to plump for rugby.
He said: “My dad played for Bristol Rovers for quite a long time and he pushed me to play football as well, but I always preferred rugby.
“I was brought up in Bristol, coming through at Filton College where a lot of the youngsters here started and then joining the club full-time at the start of last season.
“This has been a pretty great year for me so far, before the season started I would never have expected to get as many games as I have.
“The body feels good as well, I’m not finding it too tough having lots of games in quick succession – it just feels good to be out there every weekend.”
This season has marked a breakthrough campaign for Eadie, who had started all bar one of Bristol’s Championship games heading into the weekend.
Having spent last year filling in wherever needed in the back row, and even in the second row, Eadie has concentrated on the No.8 role – and that focus appears to be paying off.
The ‘model Bristol player’ according to his coach Middleton, Eadie has produced a string of impressive displays, even if his team have been up and down so far this campaign.
The former Scotland U20s forward says his decision to concentrate on one role has played a big part in his improvement.
He explained: “I spent last season playing at six and seven but this year I’ve really focused on playing at No.8 and it’s going well.
“I’ve done a lot of work with Matt Ferguson, the scrum coach at Bristol to work on my skills there, in particular my control at the base of the scrum.
“I feel that is something that has really come on, while I’ve also been doing some strength and conditioning work to bulk up a bit – I’m up to 106 kilos now.
“This year I think I’m improving game on game, and it’s great to be getting the opportunity.
“We’d have liked to have made a better start to the season and in recent weeks we’ve had a couple of good wins against Bedford, and then Jersey, but we had a bad day at Nottingham.
“That was one of those days you just have to forget about.”
Although born and bred in Bristol, Eadie’s international career has so far come north of the border having been part of the Scotland U20s side at last year’s Junior World Championships.
And he says the event in South Africa was the best experience of his young career to date.
He added: “Going out to South Africa was incredible getting to run out for your country like that.
“With my dad being full Scottish, I’m half-Scottish and I really enjoyed playing for the U20s.
“Now my ambition is to take that experience and what I’m learning at Bristol to become a Championship No.8.
“I’m still young and senior players at Bristol like Redford Pennycook and especially Iain Grieve have helped me a lot.”
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