By Phil Westren

THE Cornish Pirates can confirm that lock Steele Barker will be joining Premiership outfit Bristol Bears for the start of next season.

York-born, following a spell at the Yorkshire Carnegie Academy, Steele studied at the University of Exeter’s Penryn campus and played men’s rugby at Penryn and Redruth. To date he has made 35appearances for the Cornish Pirates since first featuring in the 2021-22 season. 

Commenting on this news from the ‘Paver-Cattle production line’, on behalf of himself and fellow joint head coach Gavin Cattle, Alan Paver said: “Steele really is a great lad who has come on leaps and bounds from the young man from university who turned up as a gritty northerner. 

“After sending him to Redruth to learn his trade, Steele grabbed that opportunity with both hands, and working alongside the likes of Louie Tonkin he has developed into a fine forward. He calls the lineout, is very astute, and having developed physically is also tough and athletic.

“Yes, we would have naturally loved to have kept Steele for another season under tutelage of the Cornish Pirates, but I think now is the right time for him and we know that he will be looked after well at Bristol by Chris Morgan.”