Partnership is a win-win

Clifton Rugby Club has always been an inclusive club and welcomed players of all abilities. Many served the club well and are perhaps better remembered for their contribution and activities as club members rather than performances on the pitch.

 Several young players who have gone forward to feature in Premiership and international teams owe much to the development they gained through time at Clifton  In many cases these young players have learned a great deal about true rugby values and gained match experience on the pitch.

This includes products of the club’s Mini and Junior section which has flourished since its formation in 1978.

Clifton have always enjoyed a positive relationship with the Bristol club, who for many seasons used their facilities at Cribbs Causeway  as their training base.  In the days of amateur rugby many started their senior careers at Clifton and progressed to the Bristol ranks.   The exchange worked the other way when Bristol stars chose to complete their playing time in lavender and black colours.

Among those who served Clifton well was Peter Polledri,  an outstanding captain and coach who boosted Clifton’s advance when leagues were introduced.   He was joined by famous players of the calibre of Ralph Knibbs, Simon Hogg and Paul Jeffrey. Alan Morley also contributed significantly in a coaching role. 

In more recent times Premiership clubs Bristol Bears, Bath and Gloucester have loaned academy players to boost Clifton’s ranks.  During the immediate past season Kofi Cripps, an outstanding back row forward has impressed and been awarded a contract with the Bears.  Ioan Emmanuel, a Wales age group player, from the Bath Academy has proved himself in the front row and learned from older players.

Emmanuel joins more famous current internationals who have spent time learning their trade in the front row of the Clifton scrum.   These include   Bears and England star Ellis Genge and Maku Vunipola who showed his potential as a nineteen year old.    Local boy Scottish international Alan Sharp also anchored the scrum.  More recently Bath’s Josh Bayliss found favour with the Scottish selectors after time with Clifton.

Further claims to the club’s international fame are that in 1881 James Alfred Bevan Became the first ever captain of Wales

Not only internationals but players of all standards are made welcome and details of preseason training for the 2024-25 campaign will be on the website

Roger Opie