RUGBY UNION: Tiger Tom desperate for role in Welsh’s big push

Tom Bristow (right) was part of a dominant London Welsh front row against Bedford Blues on Sunday alongside Nathan Morris (centre) and James Tideswell. Welsh won 29-11

Tom Bristow (right) was part of a dominant London Welsh front row against Bedford Blues on Sunday alongside Nathan Morris (centre) and James Tideswell. Welsh won 29-11

First published in Sport Herald Series: Photograph of the Author by , Sports reporter specialising in Rugby, Cricket and Athletics. Call me on 01865 425456

TOM Bristow would love to repay London Welsh’s faith in him by helping them secure promotion back to the Premiership.

The 22-year-old prop rejoined the club on loan from Leicester Tigers last month to boost their already impressive front row.

Welsh originally signed Bristow from lowly Dorking RFC ahead of their top-flight debut in 2012.

The powerful prop’s displays for the Exiles earned him a move to Leicester last summer and while he hopes to star for the Tigers in the long term, his immediate focus is with Welsh.

“Leicester said we are going to send you away for some game time,” explained Bristow.

“Coming back here, this is where I really started out. I love playing here.

“It is just great that I managed to get into the team because the strength in depth here is second to none.

“I am just happy I’m playing and managing to do alright, and then we have great subs to come on!”

Bristow added: “Winning anything, especially with London Welsh, would mean masses to me.

“With the foundations they have built this year, they will definitely be pushing for the Premiership.”

Bristow appeared six times for Leicester before re-joining Welsh and believes being back at the Oxford-based club can only help his game.

“I am going back to Leicester every now and then for training purposes,” he said.

“But playing-wise, I will be here for the rest of the season, hopefully adding to the squad, but also still learning and picking up new things and developing my game.”

Bristow says he has much to learn, but is relishing life as a professional.

“I’m pretty short in the tooth,” he said.

“Props do develop with age. Like wine, they get better as they get older.

“I am only looking to the next couple of months at the moment. I am not looking too far ahead of myself.

“I just want to enjoy my rugby.

“The atmosphere here is great to play in. Everyone is eager to play for each other.”

Bristow was at Welsh during their dramatic Premiership debut season, which featured many highs, but also the debacle of having points docked for fielding an ineligible player.

He said: “Because it was so late on that we knew we were going up, last season was a bit loose in some aspects whereas this season it feels a lot tighter.

“It is more professional in the set-up. There is more competition for places.

“The strength in depth is better this year than it was last year, which means you get boys at their best every time they put the shirt on.”

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