Former Scotland head coach Andy Robinson decided to make his return to rugby at Championship side Bristol due to the challenge of securing promotion to the English Premiership and the passion for the sport in the area.
Robinson is set to take up his role of director of rugby on March 1, with a return to the Aviva Premiership the goal he wants to achieve “over the next couple of years”.
The 48-year-old watched Bristol beat Rotherham at the Memorial Stadium on Sunday, with his new role at the West Country club his first since he resigned as Scotland boss earlier this season after a dismal autumn series culminated in a defeat against Tonga after losses to New Zealand and South Africa.
However, following discussions with Bristol chairman Chris Booy over the past few weeks, Robinson has confirmed his new role in English rugby with the promotion hunting side. “I am really excited about getting back into rugby. I was at the game (against Rotherham) and it is a tough Championship,” Robinson, who led Bath to the Heineken Cup in 1998, said.
“It was great to see the way the ball was moved around and the attacking prowess that was there. This (league) is an important step to get to the Premiership and the belief that I have that we can achieve at Bristol.”
Robinson was a member of England’s coaching staff under Sir Clive Woodward during the successful 2003 World Cup campaign before landing the top job between 2004 and 2006. After his time with England, the former flanker had two seasons at Edinburgh before being appointed Scotland’s head coach in 2009.
Bristol, who are backed by Guernsey-based millionaire Steve Lansdown, are looking to regain Premiership status next season, although Newcastle remain firm Championship title favourites.
Bristol chairman Booy said: “This appointment shows that we are serious. We want the best people to do the best jobs, and that is not just director of rugby, but also players.
“Andy’s appointment shows that we are going to get there, and there are no more ifs, but it’s when.”