Andy Short to join from Worcester after being enticed by Bristol Rugby's ambition
BRISTOL have made their second new signing for next season – and their second from Worcester – with centre Andy Short agreeing a two-year deal with the club.
The 21-year-old, who was born and raised in Worcester, will join team-mate Errie Claassens at the Memorial Stadium from the start of next season.
Short, who played alongside Bristol lock Ben Glynn in the England age-group sides, said it was a tough decision to leave his hometown club, but one that was swayed by Bristol's strong ambition.
"It was a tough decision to leave Worcester, with it having been my childhood club and where I've grown up, but I felt it was the right option and I'm really looking forward to it," said Short, who has scored nine tries in 28 appearances for the Warriors.
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"Worcester as a club is great, the facilities are great, but likewise with Bristol. It was a very tough decision to leave, but it was purely based on a rugby decision.
"The ambition and the vision of Bristol are second to none and that's the main reason I am signing. They're a Premiership club in most aspects, so I'm really looking forward to helping Bristol either get promotion next year – or, if not, being in the Premiership next year."
"The rugby they're playing, when the conditions are dry, is very ambitious and gets everyone involved. Their backs have a real cutting edge in the Championship and hopefully I'll be able to add something positive to that. I will aim to play every week and to be a real part of that."
Short, who has made ten appearances for Worcester this season – one in the Aviva Premiership – is predominantly an outside centre but can also operate on the wing.
"I definitely see myself as a centre – a 13 – mainly, but I have played a lot of my career on the wing, both in the England age groups and at Worcester," he said. "Wing is not a position I'm uncomfortable with, but I'd definitely say I'm an outside centre first and foremost."
Short, who feels having Claassens alongside him can help make the transition to a new club easier, has also consulted Worcester's army of ex-Bristol players about what to expect from the club and the city.
David Lemi, Shaun Perry, Danny Gray, Paul Hodgson and Ollie Hayes are among the former Bristol players at Sixways – and all seem to have given the club and the city glowing references.
"I've spoken to some of the ex-players from there and players who are there now – and they say the city is great," said Short, who made his Worcester debut against Bristol in 2010. "Bristol is a good rugby town – similar to Worcester but on a bigger scale."
Bristol head coach Liam Middleton is pleased to have followed up his recent capture of Claassens by landing his team-mate Short, who has made three Premiership appearances in total.
"I've been impressed with Andy since watching him play for the England Under-20s," said Middleton. "His potential is great, but more importantly his driven and ambitious character fits well with the culture at Bristol.
"Andy has the ability to play in the centre and on the wing, posing a try-scoring threat through his pace, power and footwork. His defence is strong, both in the 13 channel and on the wing. Andy represents a significant strengthening of the Bristol squad for the next two seasons."