‘A free trial’: How Jake Kerr curiously went from unwanted Leicester hooker into the thrust of Bristol’s Premiership title battle

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It was one more unusual improvement on this strangest of rugby seasons, the sight of Jake Kerr, the one-cap Scotland hooker, getting thrust into motion final Saturday for Gallagher Premiership leaders Bristol simply weeks after Leicester launched him from a scenario the place he had solely appeared as soon as for Tigers within the league this time period. 

March 20 at Exeter was when 25-year-old Kerr was seen for the one time this season in Premiership motion    for Leicester, the front-rower coming off the bench for the final eight minutes of that Sandy Park defeat. Thirty-three days later, Tigers introduced they’d granted him early launch from his contract.

It seemed like fairly a rejection for participant who had been on the membership since 2017, making 46 appearances in whole. Nevertheless, inside 16 days of exiting Oval Park, he was carrying the Bears No16 jersey and taking part in 22 minutes instead of Bryan Byrne of their comeback derby victory at Bathtub, leaving Bristol boss Pat Lam felling happy that his newest punt on rescuing a expertise within the doldrums had paid off. 

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“We acquired advised he was getting let go by Leicester,” mentioned Lam, explaining how the undesirable Tigers front-rower so rapidly modified his Premiership colors at a time of the 12 months when it’s uncommon for a participant to make this sort of a swap.

“Alasdair Dickinson clearly knew him and we acquired a few different individuals right here who knew him. We had a glance and we acquired rung by his agent to see if he may come on a free trial, so he got here in for a few weeks initially and he performed in a pleasant recreation and appeared adequate for us to say, ‘alright, let’s give him an opportunity on the bench’. 

“Will Capon had a shoulder niggle that presumably he may have performed nevertheless it allowed us to present Will an opportunity that was 100 per cent – which it’s for this week (in opposition to Gloucester on Monday) and Jake acquired in and did nicely and that’s all you are able to do. It’s what I would like, coachable, arduous working gamers and in the meanwhile he’s ticking that field so he strengthens that quantity.”

Kerr, who earned his sole Scotland cap versus Italy in 2019, is now staying at Bristol till the top of a season the place Harry Thacker has been a long-term harm absentee. Requested final September about his personal career-making transfer from Leicester to the Bears, Thacker advised RugbyPass: “To have somebody backing your nook and searching for one of the best pursuits of the person in addition to the staff is fairly cool.”

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