Fixtures - Top Bar

Bristol Rugby set for their big return


Director of rugby Andy Robinson is under no illusions that making the step up to Aviva Premiership Rugby will be the biggest challenge of his tenure at Bristol Rugby so far.

But the 52-year-old former Bath Rugby, England and Scotland head coach is confident his side will control their own destiny on their first stint back in the top flight of English rugby for seven years.

It has been a long road under Robinson, with the side losing consecutive play-off finals having twice topped the regular-season Championship standings, before finally overcoming Doncaster Knights earlier this year to secure promotion.

Bristol could not have a grander opening to their campaign however with 2012 Aviva Premiership champions Harlequins lying in wait for their first game of the season, as part of the London Double Header at Twickenham.

And Robinson believes the sooner Bristol can adjust to the speed and physicality of the league, the bigger the impact they can have on the table.

“This has been a tough step to make,” he said. “We had some really tough matches in Championship finals.

“In my first year at the club we had London Welsh, then Worcester Warriors, and last year we had Doncaster – so three very tough finals to get through.

“We’ve been able to achieve that now, and it’s all about embracing the Aviva Premiership from here on.

“We know to begin with we just have to be able to control what we can control – which is ourselves and the way we play the game and our tempo.

“We’ll also need a very strong set-piece because that is a key element of the English game, but also be able to defend well, and if we can put those elements together with a simple attacking focus and make sure we fight for 80 minutes, then we’ll get things out of games.

“We’ll get punished if we drop off at all in the Aviva Premiership because of the pace and physicality of it; the sides we are facing are quality teams so we are under no illusions the difficulties we face but we are ready to face them head on.”

They may not boast the international pedigree of some of the other sides in Aviva Premiership Rugby, but in the likes of Gavin Henson, Tom Varndell, and Jordan Crane they have proven experience at the highest level.

And with a number of homegrown starlets in their ranks too, the task of leading the side has been bestowed upon Samoan international Jack Lam.

The bruising 28-year-old flanker signed in 2014 from the Hurricanes and having experienced both the heartache and ecstasy of Championship play-off finals since, Robinson knows he has a leader in Lam that his squad will get behind.

He added: “Jack’s got to be himself this year; he’s a quality man.

“He stands well within the team in terms of how they respect him, but he’s got to go out each week and focus on his game, and I know that he will do that.

“He’s been binding the side together with what he says, and when he speaks people listen. That’s all you want from a captain.

“Ultimately we wanted someone who was respected by the group, and that you know will deliver a performance each time he goes out there.

“We’ve got our tactical decision makers on the field – they will take responsibility for that side of things – but Jack is a person that I believe everyone will follow.”

Start the Aviva Premiership Rugby Season in style with two games from £25 at Twickenham. Harlequins v Bristol Rugby and Saracens v Worcester Warriors in the London Double Header, 3 September. Tickets available from

Latest News

Whiteley hoping to lead Saracens starlets to glory in Singha 7s

Saracens scrum-half Tom Whiteley is hoping to use all his experience of competing at the Singha Premiership Rugby 7s to…

Topsy Ojo talks London Double Header memories

With six weeks to go until London Irish lock horns with Harlequins in the iconic London Double Header at Twickenham,…

Topsy Ojo

Toby Flood hopes to bring ruthless streak to Newcastle Falcons

Toby Flood is hoping to help give Newcastle Falcons the ruthless streak required to push them further up the Aviva…

Toby Flood

Aviva Premiership Rugby set for changes after six law amendments added to global trial

Aviva Premiership Rugby will be part of the global trial for six new law amendments after the World Rugby Executive…

Alex Lewington hopes London Irish youngsters will gain confidence from Singha 7s

London Irish wing Alex Lewington cannot wait to see which youngsters step up to the plate in the Singha Premiership…

Alex Lewington

Worcester Warriors sign Ireland scrum-half Peter Stringer

Warriors have signed Ireland international Peter Stringer on a six-month deal ahead of the 2017/18 season. The scrum-half will join…

Peter Stringer

Tim Streather forced to retire from rugby

Former Saracens centre Tim Streather has been forced to retire from the game due to a knee injury. Commenting on…

Tim Streather

Contract and captaincy for Dylan Hartley at Northampton Saints

Northampton Saints has today announced that Dylan Hartley has both signed a new contract and been appointed as the club’s…

Dylan Hartley

Forwards Coach George Skivington says London Irish squad are chomping at the bit

The London Irish squad have returned for pre-season training ‘hungrier’ than ever before according to Forwards Coach George Skivington. Now…

George Skivington

Wasps Academy sign Gabriel Oghre and George Thornton

Wasps announce the signing of hooker Gabriel Oghre and prop George Thornton to the Senior Academy ahead of the new…

Gabriel Oghre and George Thornton

Singha 7s gives next generation the chance to shine

Harlequins academy coach Jim Evans believes that next week’s Singha Premiership Rugby 7s will give the league’s stars of the…

Harlequins in action at the Singha 7s

Singha Premiership Rugby 7s draw confirmed

The 2017-18 Premiership Rugby season will kick off – at the end of July - in spectacular style with the Singha…

Win an Executive Box for the Singha Premiership Rugby Sevens Series

Premiership Rugby has teamed up with Northampton Saints to offer supporters the chance to win themselves an Executive Box at…

Singha 7s Ball

Dave Attwood and team-mates happy to lend a hand at Bath Rugby Foundation’s Summer Scrum

Bath Rugby lock Dave Attwood admitted helping teach rugby to children with disabilities was extremely humbling as he and his…

Gordon Reid on his first training day with London Irish

New recruit Gordon Reid is determined to be a permanent fixture in London Irish’s front row having made the switch…

Gordon Reid

Singha 7s is a chance for players to shine, says Stephen Myler

Northampton Saints’ Stephen Myler is anticipating a vibrant atmosphere and high-octane rugby when the Singha Premiership Rugby 7s arrives at…

Stephen Myler

Mark Wilson bringing his England form back to Newcastle Falcons

Newcastle Falcons’ latest England international checked back in at his club on Monday, with Mark Wilson enthusiastic about their prospects…

Mark Wilson

Worcester Warrior Chris Pennell pays tribute to community heroes

Chris Pennell paid tribute to Worcester Warriors’ grassroots spirit as he got his hands on his Aviva Community Player of…

Sale Sharks volunteer sees hard work rewarded at Premiership Rugby Parliamentary Community Awards

Sale Sharks’ Paula Bradbury couldn’t hide her delight as she was crowned Community Volunteer of the Year at the Premiership…