Bristol increase their player Budgett by signing Sidoli

had put pen to paper as he continues to build his squad for the 2008-9 season.

The first player to sign is actually a re-signing as Nathan Budgett has signed a new one year deal. Nathan initially joined Bristol Rugby in December 2005 from Bridgend until the end of the 2005-6 season but impressed so much that he was offered a new deal.

Twelve times capped Budgett also counts Cardiff Blues, Celtic Warriors and Ebbw Vale amongst his former clubs.

He started the 2007-8 season in fine form but was sidelined by a fractured windpipe for several months until returning recently and forcing his way back into first team reckoning.

Joining Budgett as a second row option for next season is fellow Welsh international Robert Sidoli.

Born in Merthy Tydfil, The 6ft 6″ lock forward played his club rugby for Merthyr and Pontypridd, being voted Pontypridd’s Player of the Year in 2001-02, before joining the Celtic Warriors when regional rugby was introduced in Wales in 2003. When the Warriors were wound up in 2004 he joined Cardiff Blues.

Sidoli won his first cap for Wales as a replacement against South Africa in 2002, was an integral part of the Wales side that won the 2005 Grand Slam and has gone on to win 42 caps.

Hill has also moved to strengthen his backline as well with the signing of Tongan international Vunga Lilo from the Cornish Pirates.

Lilo, who can play at wing, centre or full back, played in all four of Tonga’s matches in Rugby World Cup 2007 including their final game against England before joining the Pirates in November 2007.

He made his debut for Tonga in the Pacific Nations Cup in 2007 against Japan, where he scored a try after coming on as a substitute. His first start came against the Junior All Blacks in the same competition. He has currently won 7 caps all for Tonga, all in 2007.

At 6ft 4″ and weighing in at 17st 5lbs, he is a fast and powerful runner.

Hill was pleased to be able to announce this news to the media today:”It’s been a while since we announced that Adrian Jarvis would be joining the club so I’m delighted to be able to announce these signings today.”

“It’s great to have Budge back on board with us. He’s been a key part of our squad since joining us back in 2005-6. He was playing superbly until his throat injury this season.”

“He’s worked really hard to get fit and has been a welcome addition to the first team squad in recent weeks.”

“We’ve been talking to Robert for some time now and he’ll certainly boost our second row resources for next season. You don’t win 40+ international caps without being a very good player and I was impressed with Robert’s desire to be part of what we’re trying to achieve here at Bristol.”

“We’ve also kept an eye on Vunga since the World Cup last year when he was one of Tonga’s star performers. He’s had a really good season down at the Cornish Pirates and he’ll give us options at centre and full back.”

Hill also confirmed that the recruitment isn’t over just yet.

“We’re still working on a few others and will make further announcements when the time is right.”

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