In its rich history, Bristol has nurtured some of the great stars of the past and present.
We would like to thank Dave Fox and Mark Hoskins for allowing us to take advantage of the superb research they did for their book "Bristol Football Club (RFU) - 100 Greats". Dave and Mark contributed the information and the images.
If you would like to get more information on the club, its players and its history, then you can buy their book at most leading bookshops in Bristol.
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Position: Lock/ Back Row
Date of Birth: 11/01/1957
Honours: England U23, B, XV & Barbarians
Career: 1978-1988 (364 games)
Scored: 520pts (130 tries)
Nigel Pomphrey was one of the most athletic forwards to have played for Bristol. Captain in the centenary year, he selflessly put the club before his personal rugby career and consequently missed out on the chance of an international cap.
Educated at St Brendan's College, Pomphrey was initially guided by the inspirational Elwyn Price, and played number 8. A multi-talented sportsman he played rugby for Bristol Colts and Gloucestershire schools under 16 level and was a shot-put and discus thrower with Westbury Harriers.
He won a silver medal in the discus in AAA Junior championships and was at one time a south west junior weightlifting champion
Pomphrey chose to play rugby in preference to other sports, despite not coming from a rugby family. He played for Bristol United during school holidays from the age of 16 and was a replacement for the first XV when 17.
He made his debut for Bristol in the cauldron of Kingsholm in September 1976. Chosen at lock, he had a memorable game, which Bristol won, and he joined many of his Gloucester opponents a few weeks later in the Gloucestershire side when still only 18 years old.
Pomphrey was big, strong and mobile. He possessed remarkable pace and acceleration, had ball-handling skills more commonly associated with a centre, and was spring-heeled and agile. He was an admirer of Welsh lock Allan Martin.
Pomphrey's Bristol career overlapped that of Dave Rollitt. Bristol's vastly experienced former captain guided and assisted him in the facts of first class rugby life. It was clear Pomphrey was an exceptional talent and Rollitt was determined that talent should not be wasted. He had a considerable influence on the young forward.
Pomphrey was equally comfortable in the second row and back row. He was a regular first team player in his first season, and he was selected for England B in his second. In the Autumn of 1977 he sat on the replacements bench for an England XV against the USA, although he was not required to play.
However it was the 1978/79 season that really saw Pomphrey blossom. He scored 22 tries in his 34 games for Bristol, more than any other player that season and more than any other forward in a season before or since. At the end of the season he was chosen to tour the Far East with England, where he accompanied Rafter, Hignell and Doubleday.
Despite playing in the test matches against Japan, Fiji and Tonga, Pomphrey remained without full international honours as caps were not awarded. He had been chosen to tour as a lock but played predominantly at blind-side flank forward.
He scored two tries in the match against Kyushu, and repeated the feat in the second international against Japan. He was a revelation. His mobility and power were never more clearly demonstrated than on those hard grounds.
England selector Budge Rogers advised him that if he played in Bristol's back row he would be capped. But with Messrs Baker, Rafter, Polledri and Hesford already battling it out for back row places competition was tough.
A few matches in the United preceded a lengthy period at lock for the firsts. Bristol needed him in the second row. Loyalty came first, and despite later captaining England U-23 Pomphrey was never capped.
It is clear that had he moved clubs it might have been different. He was courted by Newport, Gloucester and particularly Cardiff and had approaches from Rugby League. But Pomphrey was a proud Bristolian and any such move was never an option.
Pomphrey was a regular player with Gloucestershire. His Barbarians appearances included the 1981 Hong Kong Sevens tournament. The Barbarians won the tournament, although Pomphrey missed the final with a pulled hamstring.
In the blue and white of Bristol Pomphrey was as committed as ever. He played in the 1983 cup final victory, and in the narrow defeat in the cup final the following year. He was honoured with the club captaincy for the 1986/87 and 1987/88 seasons, the latter being the club's centenary season. At the end of the Centenary season he captained Bristol in the cup final.
The 1988 cup final defeat was his last game for Bristol. He had announced his intention to retire after the semi final victory over Moseley. Although capable of playing longer he didn't want to fade away.
He had no affiliation to a combination club and so decided to stop playing when his form was good and he could still command a place in the Bristol first XV.
He was now able to devote time to his young family and his job as a director of the family engineering business. He was made an honorary vice president and later served on the club committee.
Pomphrey still holds the club's career try scoring record for a forward with 130, a record he took from Dave Rollitt. Unfortunate to play at a time when forwards pushed, shoved and merely won the ball, there is little doubt Nigel Pomphrey was a rugby player ahead of his time.
And, of course, Nigel's involvement with Bristol Rugby didn't end at that point as he was a driving force behind the consortium which took control of Bristol Rugby in the summer of 2003 following the club's relegation and is currently a board member.