Magnus Bradbury explains decision to swap Edinburgh for Bristol Bears and his determination to go out on a high

The end of his Edinburgh career is fast approaching and Magnus Bradbury is looking to sign off in style.

Magnus Bradbury drives through to score a second half try during Edinburgh's Challenge Cup quarter-final loss to Wasps. (Photo by Paul Devlin / SNS Group)
Magnus Bradbury drives through to score a second half try during Edinburgh's Challenge Cup quarter-final loss to Wasps. (Photo by Paul Devlin / SNS Group)

Having agreed a deal to join Bristol Bears next season, this Saturday’s 1872 Cup derby against Glasgow Warriors at Murrayfield is likely to be his last home match for the club he has been with since 2014.

The No 8 has enjoyed a noteworthy season, making his 100th appearance for Edinburgh in the win over Benetton in December and re-establishing himself in the Scotland side after a two-year absence.

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A win on Saturday would be a fitting way to say farewell to the supporters and would guarantee the club a place in next season’s Heineken Champions Cup.

Edinburgh's Magnus Bradbury with the 1872 Cup ahead of Saturday's game against Glasgow at BT Murrayfield. (Photo by Paul Devlin / SNS Group)

Edinburgh have been revitalised under the slick, attacking game championed by Mike Blair and Bradbury has been both contributor and beneficiary, but the player has always had a hankering to play in the English Premiership and believes it will suit his style.

“My game is based around physicality and that’s what I enjoy,” he said. “That’s not to take away from the rugby we’ve been playing here, it’s been brilliant. It’s improved my game massively. I’ll miss the rugby we’re playing, but it’s part and parcel of a new challenge. It’s another chance to improve areas of my game, which is something I’m looking forward to.

“I’ve always had an inclination to go down there. The physicality of that league, and the whole nature of it is a completely different animal to what we have up here.

“It’s much more intense, with the week-on-week nature of it. It’s just a different challenge for me. I’ve always said that I want to play somewhere else at some stage and the opportunity came for Bristol, so I took that.”

Magnus Bradbury, right, re-established himself in the Scotland set-up this season and is pictured celebrating the Calcutta Cup win in February. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

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While they are at the wrong end of the table in this campaign, the Bears reached the Premiership semi-finals last season and Bradbury believes the staff at the club can get the best out of him.

“What excites me the most is the coaching set-up down there,” he said. “Obviously Pat Lam, John Muldoon and Jordan Crane are all No.8s so that’s a huge part of the conversations I’ve had.

“People who’ve offered insights have said it’s probably the best place for me to go if I want to improve positionally. As I now see myself as an eight, there’s a great opportunity to learn from the best in their field.”

The 26-year-old says he will miss his Edinburgh team-mates, the coaching staff and the city itself. He rates the away wins this season over Saracens in the Challenge Cup and the Sharks in South Africa as the highlights of his time at the club, and the recent home defeats by Ulster and Wasps as the low points.

Edinburgh may be out of Europe but they still have the URC play-offs to look forward to and Bradbury is determined to say goodbye in the best way possible.

“I’ve known this has been coming for a while now,” he said of his home swan-song in the 1872 Cup. “I’ll miss the build-up, all the chat about the match and all the rivalries that come with it.

“But the aim and the glory of it all is that we can finish the season on a real high by beating Glasgow. That would hopefully get us a better draw in terms of the play-offs and also get us into the Champions Cup for next season. That would be perfect.”

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