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Bristol chairman Chris Booy: No rush to replace Andy Robinson

Published 07/11/2016

Andy Robinson has left Bristol
Andy Robinson has left Bristol

Bristol chairman Chris Booy says a "very interesting group of people" have put themselves forward to replace Andy Robinson, but insists the Aviva Premiership strugglers will not rush into naming a new head coach.

Bristol confirmed that Robinson had left his role as director of rugby on Monday morning, with the former England and Scotland boss having been suspended last week following the club's poor start to the season.

Robinson had been in charge since March 2013 and led Bristol to the Championship title and promotion to the Premiership last season, but he leaves Ashton Gate with the team rooted to the foot of the table having lost all seven of their league matches.

Mark Tainton, the club's record points scorer from his playing days, has been appointed as acting head coach but Booy says some "pretty big" names have shown an interest in taking on the job.

Booy also confirmed Bristol would prefer to get a new man in as soon as possible, but assured they are ready to wait for the right candidate.

He told a press conference: "It's a results-based business and we are not getting the results. We haven't made contact with anyone as yet but a very interesting group of people have put their hats in the ring.

"We will now start talking to those people and obviously widen the net as broad as we can. This is a big club, yes we are in difficult times at the moment, and some of the names are pretty big, but we will take as long as we need to get the right person."

Booy, who says they will seek to appoint a head coach rather than a new director of sport, did not reveal any names but South African pair Heyneke Meyer and Gary Gold have previously been linked to Bristol's senior coaching role.

Robinson signed a new three-year deal with Bristol in August after helping them end their seven-year exile from the top flight, but the club sit seven points adrift at the foot of the Premiership table with just two points from seven games.

They were also beaten by Cardiff Blues and Bath in the European Challenge Cup and went down to Worcester on Friday evening in their opening Anglo-Welsh Cup clash.

Booy said: "The results have been very poor and the way that we have played hasn't convinced us that things will improve and therefore the board has lost the confidence that we can retain our position.

"Once you get to that point you have to make a change and whether that is the right decision or not, we will see at the end of the season. When you lose confidence you have to make a change and move forward."

In a club press release to confirm his departure, Robinson said: " As everyone appreciates, the start of the season for Bristol Rugby has been extremely tough. However, I was surprised and disappointed by the board's decision.

"I would like to thank everyone involved with the club for some very special memories and wish them all the best for the future."

As well as looking for a new man to lead the team, Bristol are also in the market for playing reinforcements and Booy confirmed an international player would be joining in January, following on from the recent signing of Jason Woodward from Super Rugby champions the Hurricanes.

"We've got another international player that we've signed - that's done," Booy was quoted as saying in the Bristol Post.

"We can't disclose his name, because he's still under contract with his club, but he's coming in January.

"And hopefully we'll get another international player over the line in the next 24 hours, so we will continue to strengthen the squad we have.

"We have a good squad, so we'll see how it goes. But we're still very, very confident we will achieve our objective."

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