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Andy Robinson relieved after Bristol secure promotion to Aviva Premiership

Published 25/05/2016

Andy Robinson's Bristol are back in the top flight for the first time since 2009
Andy Robinson's Bristol are back in the top flight for the first time since 2009

Bristol director of rugby Andy Robinson was a mightily relieved man as his side just held off a magnificent rally from Doncaster to secure a return to the Aviva Premiership for the first time since 2009.

Doncaster deservedly won the game 34-32 on the night at a sold-out Ashton Gate but Robinson, whose team secured a 60-47 aggregate victory, was still ecstatic at Bristol's promotion.

"It was an outstanding effort from an outstanding squad and we are finally there," he said. "We are still disappointed to lose the game but I admired Doncaster's approach from the start as they never gave up.

"Ashton Gate is a fantastic place to come and watch and the support is very special but we have a lot of work to do."

Bristol first-team coach Sean Holley echoed Robinson's sentiments.

"We didn't play well tonight and our performance was disappointing," he said. "However, we did enough in the first leg and our away form this season has been fantastic.

"Losing a number of players through injury put us right up against it but we showed great spirit, though it seemed to me that the clock was never running down and almost always stopped.

"It's not going to be easy in the Premiership but it's mouth-watering and we are here to stay. We have to take confidence from what Worcester have achieved this season and we have made a number of important signings, who will be key players for us."

Holley also took a swipe at the Championship play-off system.

"We were the best team in the league by miles, we won the league by miles and yet we have to go to the fourth-placed team in the league and play them over two legs, when they don't even want to go up to the Premiership," he added.

"We then have another two leg play-off; it's ridiculous and just has to be changed."

Doncaster outscored Bristol by five tries to two with Will Hurrell, Tyson Lewis, Ollie Stedman, Latu Makaafi and Paul Jarvis all crossing. Bristol's two came from James Phillips and Will Cliff with 22 points from the boot of Callum Sheedy being vital to the home side's success.

Doncaster director of rugby Clive Griffiths was delighted with his side's performance.

"We didn't get to the Holy Grail and losing is hard to take especially when we scored five tries to two," he said. "I was disappointed with our attack last week but we showed what we could do tonight.

"I'm absolutely thrilled that the boys got a win as it maintains momentum going into next season."

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