Liam Middleton delighted after trio agree new Bristol Rugby contracts
BRISTOL have continued to build for next season by agreeing new contracts with three of their existing forwards – Gaston Cortes, Ben Glynn and Redford Pennycook.
The trio's commitment to Bristol – Cortes for next season, Glynn and Pennycook for the next two – follows the recent announcements that Worcester backs Errie Claassens and Andy Short will move to the club this summer.
Head coach Liam Middleton is moving early to put plans in place for the 2013-14 season, regardless of whether Bristol are in the Aviva Premiership or, as seems more likely at the moment, the Championship.
Argentina prop Cortes, 27, has impressed since joining Bristol earlier this season – and is likely to play an increasingly prominent role in the coming weeks with Jason Hobson banned until April.
Lock Glynn, 21, has recovered from knee surgery to become a regular member of the Bristol squad, while homegrown flanker Pennycook, 27, has been one of the club's top performers since he returned from Newcastle a year ago.
Glynn echoed the views of Cortes, Pennycook and recent signings Claassens and Short when he said he hopes to be playing Premiership rugby with Bristol in the near future.
"It's a really strong squad and everyone has got to prove themselves week-in, week-out, because there's always someone there to fill your place," said Glynn.
"But that's good, and it's the way it's got to be, because it drives our standards up and that's the only way we're going to make it back up to the Premiership.
"It's obviously everyone's aim – and it's the club's aim – to go back up. It's good that we've got that ambition, but first we need to focus on the short-term goals of winning our next few games.
"Our performances have been better in the last couple of weeks and hopefully that can continue and we can come good at the end of the season."
Head coach Liam Middleton was delighted to secure the trio's services on new deals – praising Glynn's leadership, Pennycook's consistency and Cortes' work-rate.
"Redford has been one of the stand-out individuals at the club this season," he said. "His displays in a Bristol shirt have been impressive, and his man-of-the-match performance on Friday against Leeds showed his quality. He has the ability to perform consistently at a high level.
"Ben has established himself as a key member of the first team and within the leadership group in the club. I hold a huge amount of confidence in him, not just as a talented rugby player but as a professional character.
"The positive and determined attitude that he showed to return from a serious injury last season confirmed his drive and mental toughness. I believe he will play a major part in our success.
"Gaston has really impressed us during his short time with the club. We feel he has made significant progress since his arrival and I'm very positive about what he can do for Bristol Rugby.
"Gaston has tremendous work-rate and he has picked up our systems quickly. Tighthead props who have represented their country are invaluable at this level, so we're delighted that he has agreed to stay with us next season."