Bristol Bears prop John Afoa

‘Massive leader’ John Afoa signs new one-year contract at Bristol Bears

Bristol Bears has confirmed John Afoa has agreed to a new one-year contract at Ashton Gate.

The extension will see Afoa continue to play in the Premiership next season when he will have turned 38.

Afoa made the switch to Bristol from Gloucester in 2018, and has since gone on to make 52 appearances in Bears colours.

Director of rugby, Pat Lam, said: “John is a legend of the game and his impact at the Bears has been immeasurable.

“On the field, to be one of the most consistent standout players in one of the toughest physically demanding positions – for so many seasons at the highest level – is a testament to his professionalism and mental toughness.

“Off the field, John is a massive leader in our group. He initiated and drives our Bears Mentor Programme bringing on the young and new players and ensuring connections and real clarity to our game and our Bears culture.

“John has been a huge part of our growth since our promotion back to the Premiership and him committing to another year is a major boost to our players, our staff and our fans.”

The tighthead prop has won 38 caps for New Zealand and made over 100 appearances for the Blues before leaving Auckland in 2011.

A move to Ulster has kept Afoa in Europe for the best part of a decade having enjoyed a three-year stint at the Kingspan before switching to the Premiership with Gloucester and Bristol.

Afoa said: “I’ve loved my time in Bristol so far, so from that perspective, it was an easy decision to make. The way the medical and athletic performance guys manage me has been awesome and it helps me be at my best every time I get on the grass.

“We’ve got a good bunch of boys here and there’s a huge amount of ambition.

“What is important for me also is that it’s an enjoyable place to be, the lads get a lot out of the rugby we are trying to play and it’s a great environment to be a part of.”

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