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Bristol Rugby seals return of Samoa winger David Lemi

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: February 05, 2014

By STEVE COTTON

David Lemi runs in for a try during his first spell with Bristol Rugby

David Lemi runs in for a try during his first spell with Bristol Rugby

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Bristol yesterday completed a deal that will see David Lemi re-join them this summer – and announced new contracts for five of their existing players – on a busy day for the club.

In addition to the return of Lemi – who scored 33 Premiership tries in 67 appearances for Bristol between 2005 and 2009 – the club confirmed that Kyle Traynor, Adrian Jarvis, Ellis Genge, Auguy Slowik and Ryan Edwards had all signed new deals.

Keeping 20-year-old full-back Slowik and 18-year-old prop Genge so soon after another homegrown youngster, George Watkins, opted to leave was a significant coup for Bristol.

And, in Samoa winger Lemi, they have re-signed an extremely popular player, who always vowed he would one day return to the club.

Lemi turns 32 next week – and has not scored more than six Premiership tries in a single season since leaving Bristol nearly five years ago – but Andy Robinson has no doubt he can still unlock top defences.

The director of rugby said: "David needs no introduction to Bristol supporters. His never-say-die attitude, willingness to work hard and eye for the try-line made him a fans' favourite at the club.

"Wingers of David's calibre are hard to come by – he's the type of player that lifts the crowd and makes things happen.

"David is a try-scorer, and that's a valued commodity. He's capable of unlocking some of the best defences in the top flight, so I'm confident he'll thrive in our expansive style of rugby."

One of the symbols of Bristol's 2006-07 season, in which they finished third in the Premiership before suffering play-off defeat against Leicester, Lemi is relishing his return.

"I'm honoured to be coming back to Bristol – it's a club close to my heart and a city that I'm extremely fond of," said Lemi.

"The unique Bristol Rugby spirit, and the supporters – that have always been fantastic to me – were big factors in me signing."

While Lemi prepares to join the club this summer on a two-year deal, five members of Bristol's existing squad have also committed until 2016.

Scotland prop Traynor said: "I want to be playing top-flight rugby and earn more honours – I committed to Bristol because I believe that I can achieve those goals here."

Fly-half Jarvis said: "It's a tight-knit environment at Bristol and a special place to play rugby – my decision was made easy by the ambition shown by the club, and I want to be a part of that."

Winger Edwards, meanwhile, said: "It was an easy decision to commit my future, because the ambition and drive make it an exciting time to be at Bristol."

In convincing young duo Genge and Slowik that their futures are best served with Bristol, the club sent out an important message following the recent confirmation of Watkins' summer departure.

"It's an amazing feeling to pull on the Bristol shirt and score tries in front of the home supporters – I want to do that for years to come," said Slowik, who has scored five tries in seven appearances.

Highly-rated Genge, a former Old Redcliffians youngster, added: "I'm hungry to be successful – I want to establish myself in the first team, so I'm determined to keep working hard to achieve that."

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