Any hopes former England number eight Nathan Hughes was on the verge of working his way back into being a regular part of Pat Lam’s plans at Bristol Bears this season seem to have vanished following the news the big number eight has been sent out on loan to the Championship.
Hughes started at number eight against Exeter Chiefs on New Year’s Day in his first Premiership start since September, with the official line from the club being he has been absent as a result of poor form in which time young Fitz Harding has established himself as a star in the side. In the background rumours of a fallout linger with the Fijian-born Hughes expected to leave Ashton Gate at the end of the season.
The 22-cap England international performed admirably, if unspectacularly, in the defeat to Exeter – doing the basics well. However, he was replaced in just the 45th minute of the 19-13 loss.
Since then Hughes has resumed his main role this season as a traveling replacement for the Bears, but he will not be involved this weekend when Bristol travel to Scarlets in the Heineken Champions Cup.
Today, RFU Championship side Hartpury confirmed he has joined the club on loan and has been training with the side in the week ahead of this weekend’s game against London Scottish when he will start at number eight alongside clubmate Mitch Eadie.
The pair are joined in the Hartpury side by Bristol Bears youngsters James Dun at lock and Deago Bailey on the wing.
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The full Hartpury squad is : 1, Totti Benz-Salomon, 2 Luke Stratford, 3 Shaun Knight, 4 James Dun, 5 Cameron Jordan, 6 Mitch Eadie, 7 Oli Robinson, 8 Nathan Hughes, 9 Toby Venner, 10 Tommy Mathews, 11 Deago Bailey, 12 James Williams, 13 Robbie Smith, 14 Ben Foley, 15 George Simpson
Replacements: 16 Ethan Hunt, 17 Ciaran Knight, 18 Kieran Verden, 19 Dale Lemon, 20 Harry Short, 21 Oscar Lennon, 22 Jack Tovey and Sam Smith.