Bristol Bears have announced the signing of prop Ashley Challenger on a one-year deal following a successful trial period.
Challenger went on to represent Dings Crusaders before joining Hartpury in the Championship. He went on to join Bristol on a month-long trial period and made his debut for the Bears in the Premiership Cup victory over Exeter on Saturday.
“It’s an honour for me and my family to be able to pull on the Bears jersey and represent the club I have supported growing up," he told the club's official website.
“I am so grateful to Pat [Lam] and the coaching team for the opportunity and will be working hard to repay that faith in me. The boys in the squad and the staff around the High Performance Centre have been unbelievable in welcoming me – it’s a fantastic culture here to be a part of.
“My focus is to keep working tirelessly on my game, learn from the guys around me and be the best I can be to challenge for a starting position.”
Bristol Bears director of rugby Pat Lam welcomed Challenger to the club and said he was impressed by the 26-year-old's performance during the trial period.
“Ashley impressed us in a month-long trial period with the club so we’re pleased to bring him in to our professional environment on a full-time basis,” said Lam.
“For Ash, it was his dream to be a professional rugby player and he has showed the attitude and dedication to make it happen. He’s been welcomed by the boys and is a great character.
“Ash is another example to young Bristolians that if you apply yourself and have the tenacity to succeed, there are opportunities at the Bears for homegrown talent.”
Bristol currently are at 11th place in the Gallagher Premiership table with three wins from seven games.