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Robinson handed Bristol reins
ESPN Staff
February 18, 2013
Bristol Rugby's Andy Robinson and Liam Middleton, CEO Steve Gorvett and chairman Chris Booy, Clifton RFC, Bristol, February 18, 2013
Andy Robinson will work alongside head coach Liam Middleton © PA Photos
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Players/Officials: Andy Robinson

Bristol Rugby have confirmed the appointment of former Scotland boss Andy Robinson as their new director of rugby.

Robinson will link up with Bristol on March 1 and will work alongside Liam Middleton who has kept his post as the Championship team's head coach. He will bring a wealth of experience to Bristol having coached both Scotland and England in the past.

He quit his role with Scotland after a dismal autumn series earlier this season when Robinson's team lost to New Zealand, South Africa and Tonga. The former Bath boss was appointed Scotland chief in 2009, taking them to the World Cup two years later, but they suffered a pool stage exit for the first time.

He headed up the England coaching staff between 2004 and 2006 after succeeding World Cup-winning coach Sir Clive Woodward. He had been part of Woodward's 2003 World Cup coaching staff in Australia, and he also won eight England caps as a player.

And Bristol chairman Chris Booy is delighted with Robinson's decision to head up the club's backroom staff. "This is a hugely significant appointment for Bristol Rugby and a clear indication of the burning ambition of this club," Booy said. "Andy is a long-term appointment. He has proven experience at international and domestic level, and the necessary acumen to drive Bristol Rugby forward and establish ourselves as a top four Aviva Premiership side in the future."

Bristol are currently fourth in the Championship and will hope to be in the mix come the play-offs as they look to bounce back to the Premiership having last featured in the top flight in 2009. The west country club have already announced four new signings for next term - Peter Buxton, Mark Sorenson, Andy Short and Errie Claassens - and they could also move to Ashton Gate in a ground-share with Bristol City Football Club.

And Robinson is relishing the chance to start work at Bristol. "I'm delighted to be joining Bristol Rugby at such an exciting time for the club," Robinson said. "I firmly believe that - with the passion for rugby in the region and the vision of the owners - Bristol has the potential to be one of the most successful sides in England.

"I'm looking forward to building a squad with a blend of experience and young home-grown talent, to play an exciting and winning brand of rugby. Our immediate objective is to achieve promotion back to the Aviva Premiership as soon as possible."

Robinson also revealed that he has already held talks with current head coach Middleton about his plans for the rest of the season. Robinson said: "I will be working closely with Liam over the next couple of months on the strategy that he has put in place and adding a bit of knowledge that I have from throughout my coaching and rugby career through to the end of the season.

"The key for us is to get into the top four (of the Championship) and then take the play-offs one by one. Newcastle have been the standout side so far, they have been playing some very good rugby and their goal is to get into the Premiership as well."

Andy Robinson is unveiled as Bristol's director of rugby © PA Photos
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