Bristol's big name signings to be given European Cup green light

European rugby officials are set to allow Semi Radradra, Jonny Gray and Aled Davies to play in key quarter-final matches in the Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup despite having appeared in the same competitions for other clubs this season.

The enforced ending of the Top14 league in France and the delayed conclusion to the Gallagher Premiership and Guinness Pro14 seasons has seen players move clubs in recent weeks, with new contracts coming into force on July 1.

That has created unique qualification situations and with the quarter-finals of both European competitions to be staged on the weekend of September 18, squads have been bolstered by new arrivals.

While no decision has been formally announced, RugbyPass understands Cup organisers are expecting to be lobbied by clubs like Bristol to allow Radradra to play even though he has appeared for Bordeaux in the same competition this season, while Exeter and Saracens will make the same case in the Heineken Champions Cup for Jonny Gray (Glasgow to Exeter) and Aled Davies (Scarlets to Saracens).

Kyle Sinckler would be free to play for Bristol as he played in a different competition for Harlequins.

Dean Ryan, the Dragons director of  rugby, is hoping to add Wales lock Will Rowlands and centre Joe Tomane to the club’s squad for their quarter-final with big spending Bristol Bears.

Rowlands, who made his Wales debut against France in the Six Nations, is contracted to Wasps but would be the ideal replacement for Cory Hill who has joined the Blues, while Wallaby wing Tomane, who was confirmed to be leaving Leinster last week, would add firepower to a Dragons back line already bolstered by the arrival of two other Wales internationals, Jonah Holmes, from Leicester, and Nick Tompkins on a one-year loan from Saracens.

Ryan has been attempting to bolster a squad that is still lightweight in terms of experience compared to clubs like Bristol and with the Dragons certain to be involved in an expanded Heineken Champions Cup competition next season, strength in depth is a major concern.

Typically, Ryan is up for the challenge and believes the benefits of his players taking on the cream of European rugby will outweigh the negatives.