|Full name||Bristol Rugby Football Club|
|Union||Rugby Football Union|
|Ground(s)||Memorial Ground (Capacity: 12,100)|
Bristol Rugby are a rugby union club based in Bristol, England. The club currently plays in the RFU Championship and competes in the British and Irish Cup. They rely in large part on the many junior rugby clubs in the region, particularly those from 'the Combination'. Significant players it has produced have include Tom Richards, who played for both the British Isles and Australia, Sam Tucker, John Blake, John Pullin and Alan Morley. In the professional era several international stars have played for Bristol, including Argentina's Agustín Pichot and Felipe Contepomi, Jason Little, double World Cup winner with Australia, and Gareth Llewellyn, until 2007 the most-capped player ever for Wales.
Formation and early history
Bristol Football Club was formed in 1888 when the Carlton club merged with rival club Redland Park to create a united Bristol team. Westbury Park having refused to merge then folded and many of its players subsequently joined Bristol. The County Cricket Ground at Nevil Road was leased for home matches.
The first match was a heavy away defeat to Cardiff and although the first season was relatively successful the second was not with only three games won. The club went from strength to strength over the next few years under the captaincy of W. Tommy Thomson. It turned the corner and in 1891/92, now wearing the more familiar navy and white hooped shirts, the Bristol team won twenty games out of twenty four.
Over the ensuing seasons the fixture list went from strength to strength, consisting of most of the top English and Welsh sides. In 1900 J. W. Jarman became Bristol's first England cap. Two major touring sides played Bristol during this period. The first New Zealand All Blacks defeated the club 41 – 0 in 1905 and in 1909 a combined Bristol and Clifton RFC team, captained by Percy Down, lost to Australia 11 – 3.
The club was beginning to bring on a new generation of players when the First World War halted all rugby. After the war a Bristol United side was formed to provide rugby for returning servicemen and this led to the rebirth of Bristol in 1919. The County Ground was no longer available for home games so the club rented a field at Radnor Road, Horfield although occasional matches were staged at the Bristol City and Bristol Rovers grounds. The Radnor Road seasons were good ones for the club and a new crop of stars appeared.
The Memorial Ground stadium was built on an area of land called Buffalo Bill's Field which was previously occupied by allotments in 1921. Bristol defeated Cardiff 19 – 3 in the opening match in front of a large crowd.
The fiftieth anniversary was celebrated in 1938 but the next few years saw a fall in performances and the final inter-war season was a poor one. During World War II a Bristol Supporters team kept rugby union going in the city. Thus Bristol had readily available players when peacetime rugby union resumed in 1945.
The playing record in the early fifties was mixed, but there was a huge improvement under the captaincy of first Bert MacDonald, and then Dick Hawkes. Records were broken in 1956/57 and even better was to follow in what has been called 'The Blake Era'.
Fly half John Blake became captain in 1957 and under his leadership the club developed an entertaining running style of rugby involving backs and forwards, which was years ahead of its time. The Bristol club set and broke new records for wins in a season and points scored and goal kicking forward Gordon Cripps rewrote the individual points scoring records.
1960s to 1980s
The 75th anniversary was celebrated in 1962/63 and floodlights were installed in the following season. Club form peaked in 1965–66 under Derek Neate's captaincy when 39 games were won, and again in 1971/72 under Tony Nicholls. This was the club's best ever season with a thousand points being scored for the first time and the team being crowned unofficial English and Anglo-Welsh champions.
Under Mike Rafter's captaincy, the club won the John Player Cup in 1983, defeating Leicester 28–22. During this period Alan Morley established a world record of 479 tries in senior rugby. The centenary season with Nigel Pomphrey as captain was celebrated in style with a game against the Barbarians and a narrow defeat in the cup final, but thereafter there was a gradual decline in playing standards. The team did not really adapt well to the demands of league rugby and the club's administrators struggled to cope with the professional set up.
1998/99 (Allied Dunbar Premership Two)
Relegation to Premiership Two in 1998 was not the worst of Bristol's problems. Only an eleventh hour rescue by Malcolm Pearce saved the club from potential oblivion. Bristol also lost control of the Memorial Stadium Company to Bristol Rovers and have been tenants ever since. Bristol's first season outside the top flight brought with it a number of first-time visits to clubs. Bristol went on to win the Premiership Two title and promotion back to Premiership One, sealing the win with a 22–11 victory over Worcester.
1999-00 (Allied Dunbar Premiership)
The World Cup disrupted the early part of the 1999–00 season, with Henry Honiball (South Africa), Agustín Pichot and Eduardo Simone (Argentina), Garath Archer (England), Jamie Mayer (Scotland), Al Charron (Canada) and Pablo Lemoine (Uruguay) all missing the first few games. Under the captaincy of Dean Ryan the team played some of the most entertaining rugby seen at the Memorial Stadium. There were thrilling victories over Saracens, a late winner away at Northampton and a breathtaking 31–31 draw with Bath. The team eventually finished sixth, just missing out on European Cup qualification.
2000–01 (Zurich Premiership)
During the close season, Dean Ryan took over as Head Coach from Bob Dwyer, and new signings included, Ben Sturnham from Bath, Leigh Davies from Cardiff and Neil McCarthy from Gloucester. After an opening day victory over newly promoted Rotherham, Bristol had a disappointing 2000–01 season finishing ninth. The team lost their first three Premiership games before turning their season around with a run of ten home matches without defeat, including wins over champions Leicester Tigers, and West Country rivals Bath. The turning point coincided with the arrival of Argentine international fly-half, Felipe Contepomi who started to forge an unstoppable half-back partnership with countryman Agustín Pichot. Off the field, Jack Rowell became Managing Director, successful community initiatives saw the attendance figures rise.
2001–02 (Zurich Premiership)
The 2001–02 season brought a new name, Bristol Shoguns, thanks to the record breaking five-year £2 million sponsorship deal with motoring giants Mitsubishi Motors. The team also saw the arrival of some of the game's most promising young talent, as well experienced internationals Julian White and double world cup winning centre, Jason Little. Despite a mixed start, supporters at the Memorial Stadium witnessed some breathtaking rugby during the second half of the season. With the Shoguns finishing the season with the most bonus points in the Zurich Premiership, three players in the top try scorers chart, a place at Twickenham in the final of the Zurich Championship, and also a place in the Heineken Cup for the 2002–03 season.
One of the key turning points of the season was the arrival of former All Blacks selector Peter Thorburn. The ex-North Harbour coach joined in late February for the remainder of the season. His fresh input coupled with the experience of Dean Ryan and his coaching team helped bring out the best in the Shoguns. In the remaining fixtures the Shoguns started to open up defences and put the points on the board, including 47 against Sale Sharks, 40 against Gloucester and 38 against recently crowned champions Leicester Tigers. The great run of results led to the Shoguns securing a top eight finish and a place in the quarter-final of the Zurich Championship at Welford Road with qualification for the lucrative Heineken Cup up for grabs. The Shoguns didn't disappoint in the Zurich Championship when they demolished the Tigers 27–13 in the quarter-final and then Northampton Saints 32–24 in the semi-final.
2002–03 (Zurich Premiership)
The 2002–03 season was greeted with huge excitement by the Bristol faithful. Several months later, the club would be staring at oblivion. The cracks started to appear in the close season in the summer of 2002. Head Coach Dean Ryan moved to Gloucester, Jack Rowell resigned as Director of Rugby whilst skipper Jason Little retired. Peter Thorburn took over as coach and claimed that the team were several weeks behind in their preseason preparations. The team lost their opening four Zurich Premiership fixtures. An amazing 14 man win over Leicester was followed by a first foray into the Heineken Cup and a superb, televised win over Montferrand was the highlight. League form was mixed but there were more wins than defeats including a momentous first league win away at Bath. But Christmas saw a bombshell; owner Malcolm Pearce announced that he would quit at the end of the season. Worse was to follow as it became clear that the club's existence was under threat as first, rumours began to circulate that Bristol could be sold to Firoz Kassam and play out of Oxford. Then, to the horror of Bristolians, it became apparent that a merger with bitter rivals Bath had been mooted. Although neither event came to pass, Bristol were relegated at the end of the season as off field distractions took their toll.
2003–04 (National Division One)
In 2003 with Bristol at rock bottom Martin Haag and a week later Richard Hill joined as first team coach and head coach respectively. While the board were raising money to stabilise the club Haag and Hill implemented a '3 year plan' to rebuild Bristol and put them back in the Premiership.
The club's deal with Mitsubishi expired on 31 July 2005, and the club is once again known as Bristol Rugby Football Club.
2005–06 (Guinness Premiership)
Many pundits had tipped Bristol as relegation certainties in 2005/06, but they defied the critics with some strong performances. A surprise home victory to local rivals Bath was followed by a win away at Newcastle but these September wins were followed by a fallow period in the Guinness Premiership until the visits from Leeds Tykes and Sale Sharks in November. Leicester Tigers were also surprise losers at the Memorial Ground in December, and Bristol morale got a lift when they secured a draw against high-flying London Wasps in February. The season was capped by away victories over Saracens and Gloucester and a decisive home win against Newcastle Falcons in April. Some individual players stood out: winger David Lemi surprised many defences with his speed and agility, Brian Lima proved tough to beat at centre, fly-half Jason Strange had an impressive goal-kicking record and scrum-half Shaun Perry had been called up to captain England Saxons by the season's end on the strength of play at Bristol. Among the forwards Mark Regan and Dan Ward-Smith imposed themselves on the opposition, while flanker Matt Salter was arguably the side's most important player and was awarded the Guinness Premiership's 'Captain of the Year' by Sky Sports at an end of year awards ceremony.
At the end of the 2005–06 season, Shaun Perry was called into the England squad for the two-test Cook Cup series against Australia. However a late-diagnosed fractured wrist, sustained against Newcastle, ruled him out for eight weeks and the consequent tour.
2006–07 (Guinness Premiership)
Perry was then named in the 2006/07 Elite Playing Squad, the first Bristol player to appear in the squad since its creation. He was shortly followed into the squad by team mate Dan Ward-Smith, who missed out on the 2007 Six Nations, after dislocating his kneecap in a Guinness Premiership game against Northampton.
Bristol elected to play two 2006–07 games at Ashton Gate, home of football side Bristol City. The local derby against Bath and the game against Premiership giants Leicester were moved from the 11,750 capacity Memorial Stadium to Ashton Gate's 21,500 capacity to allow more fans the chance to watch the team. The precedent for this was established for a crucial relegation fixture against Bath in May 2003.
2007–08 (Guinness Premiership)
Bristol could not replicate the success of the previous season and ended the 2007–08 season in 9th place. They also failed to progress from their Heineken Cup group, despite a memorable home win against Stade Français.
2008–09 (Guinness Premiership)
Following a season of financial difficulties in which Bristol won only two games, they were relegated from the Guinness Premiership at the end of the 2008–09 season after losing 38–21 to London Irish on Saturday 4 April.
Summary of league positions
Summary of Bristol's league positions since league rugby was introduced in 1987.
|Season||League||Final league position||End of season|
|1990/91||Courage League||11th (of 13)||n/a|
|1991/92||Courage League||10th (of 13)||n/a|
|1992/93||Courage League||6th (of 13)||n/a|
|1993/94||Courage League||4th (of 10)||n/a|
|1994/95||Courage League||6th (of 10)||n/a|
|1995/96||Courage League||6th (of 10)||n/a|
During the summer of 2009, Roy Winters was announced as the club captain for the 2009–10 season, with Jason Spice acting as the playing captain. Capita Symonds were revealed as the new main sponsor.
In October, it was announced that fly-half Ed Barnes would miss another six months of rugby, having ruptured his achilles heel again. In addition, newly signed number eight Bertrand Bedes injured his knee in the game against Rotherham Titans.
Bristol announced the signing of Sam Giddens from Hawkes Bay in November, initially on a six-month contract which will run to the end of the 2009–10 season. A fortnight later, in early December, it was announced that Alex Crockett had signed for Bristol and would be joining the club in January 2010. Due to a nine-month ban for refusing a drugs test in the summer of 2009, Crockett was not available to play for Bristol until 1 March 2010.
On April 16, 2010, the French website Rugby Transferts revealed that Samoan prop Philemon Toleafoa had signed for Bristol for the 2010–11 season from Montpellier. At the time, the 28-year-old loosehead prop had two international caps. This transfer did not materialise.
Following the final game of the season, the club asked some of the players to take a pay cut of up to 50%, resulting in a number of players leaving the club. James Phillips and Redford Pennycook revealed they were very reluctant to leave Bristol.
The club planned to announce the full squad for the 2010/11 season on Friday 25 June 2010.
In the playoffs, Bristol won five of their six games and finished top of Playoff Group A before beating London Welsh in the semi-final. They lost to Exeter in the final, losing the first leg 9–6 away and the second leg 29–10 at home, and ensuring Bristol will remain in the Championship for another season.
British and Irish Cup
Hull used the newly formed British and Irish Cup as an opportunity to give some of Bristol's younger and Academy players an opportunity to play first team rugby. In the group stages, Bristol beat Neath, Coventry, Heriot's FP and Nottingham, and lost to Munster A. Bristol did qualify for the next round, having finished in second place behind undefeated Munster A.
On Friday 25 June 2010, Bristol Chairman Chris Booy announced to supporters via email that Iain Grieve would be captain for the 2010/11 season. It was also confirmed that Winters, Crompton, Irish, Thompson, Adams, Shaw, Norton, Merriman, Ashwin, Miller, Alford, Hayes, Barry and Vunipola would all be Bristol players for the 2010/11 season, with more signings still to be announced. Roy Winters will remain as club captain.
David Blaney, Dan Montagu, Ed Barnes and Mariano Sambucetti all re-signed for the 2010/11 season, with Sean Marsden and Richard Bolt joining the squad from Exeter Chiefs and Nicky Little confirming his signing from Bath Rugby. Billy Moss joined on loan from Bath Rugby in August, with Marco Mama signing an Academy contract and Nathan Budgett renewing his first team contract shortly after.
On Thursday 21 October, the club website announced that Anthony Elliott had joined Bristol for his second spell at the club, as well as Jonathan Brandling-Harris signing until the end of the year.
Following a few months of rumour and speculation, it was announced in January that Bath had contacted Bristol about the possibility of signing prop Mako Vunipola. It was also rumoured that Wasps and Gloucester were interested in Vunipola.
On Tuesday 1 February, the club website announced that prop Jason Hobson has joined Bristol until the end of the 2010/11 season following the termination of his contract with London Wasps. Hobson, a former Bristol player, left the club in 2009 to join Wasps. 
Following the away game against Birmingham & Solihull in February, it was announced that Adrian Jarvis, who had become a key player in Bristol's 2010/11 campaign, would leave the club to join Leeds with immediate effect, having exercised a clause in his contract to join a Premiership club.
Nathan Budgett announced his retirement from the game on February 15 due to injury. He will remain with Bristol until the end of the 2010/11 season as a forwards coach and part of the strength and conditioning team.
Bristol Rugby issued a one-week ban to captain Iain Grieve in March, following his sending off in the opening playoff game against Worcester, for fighting with - and breaking the nose of - Andy Goode.
The Championship season began poorly for Bristol, with only five wins and a draw in their first eighteen league games – a stark contrast to the winning results Bristol enjoyed throughout most of the 2009/10 season. After a break in January for the British and Irish Cup games, Bristol returned to Championship action with consecutive wins against London Welsh, Birmingham & Solihull and Plymouth Albion, before losing to Rotherham in the final game of the regular season. Bristol finished the regualar season league in 8th place and were placed in Playoff Group A with Worcester, London Welsh and Nottingham.
Bristol lost five of their six playoff games, finishing bottom of Playoff Group A and therefore not progressing to the semi-final stages.
British and Irish Cup
Bristol's first British and Irish Cup game of the season was a 37–23 home loss against Nottingham in December. A week later, the home game against Munster A was postponed because of a frozen pitch.
Up until January 2011, Paul Hull had been using the British and Irish Cup as a chance to give younger players and squad players some starting appearances; but prior to the cup game against Esher on Friday 14 January, Hull announced that they would be scrapping this policy and would play a full strength side in an attempt to gain a win to give them momentum going into the latter part of Stage 1 of the Championship season.
This policy paid off immediately with a series of wins, culminating in Bristol finishing top of Pool B. Bristol then beat Ayr in a home quarter-final and won an away semi-final against Pontypridd, before winning the British and Irish Cup with a home win in the final against Bedford on Saturday 7 May 2011.
- Jake Caulfield (from London Irish)
- Tristan Roberts (from Doncaster Knights)
- Tom Slater (from Cardiff Blues)
- Louis Silver (from Worcester Warriors)
- Matt Williams (from Doncaster Knights)
- Rhys Lawrence (from Scarlets)
- Fautua Otto
- Jon Goodridge (from Esher RFC)
- Josh Ovens (from Bath RFC) (Loan)
- Ollie Woodburn (from Bath RFC) (DR)
- Matt Keyte (from Bath RFC) (DR)
- Ben Mosses (from Bath RFC) (DR)
- Tom Channon
- Will Davis
- William Helu (from Roma Olimpic)
- Matty James (from Sale Sharks)
- Jason Harris-Wright (from Leinster Rugby)
- Ruki Tipuna (from Llanelli Scarlets)
- Glen Townson (from Newcastle Falcons) (loan)
- Henry Vanderglas (from ACT Brumbies)
- Luke Eves (from Newcastle Falcons)
- Mark Lilley (from Bath Rugby) (DR)
- Matthew Jones (From Newport Gwent Dragons)
- Redford Pennycook (from Newcastle Falcons)
- Ollie Hayes (to Worcester Warriors)
- Mako Vunipola (to Saracens)
- Ed Barnes
- Jamie Miller
- Jonathan Brandling-Harris
- Robbie Shaw
- Richard Bolt
- Sam Alford
- Nicky Little
- Chris Ashwin
- Dan Norton
- Jack Adams
- Anthony Elliott
- David Blaney
Towards the end of the 2010/11 season, many Bristol players renewed their contracts for the 2011/12 season. In late May 2011, the full list of retained players was confirmed as: Mark Irish, Darren Crompton, Wayne Thompson, Jason Hobson, Ross Johnston, Mariano Sambucetti, Roy Winters, Darren Barry, Ben Glynn, Iain Grieve, James Merriman, Dan Montagu, Marco Mama, Mark Davies, Junior Fatialofa, Jack Gadd, Jack Tovey, George Watkins and Sean Marsden. It was also confirmed that Mitch Eadie had signed an Academy contract.
In late May, Liam Middleton announced the signing of Samoan international utility back Fautua Otto. If selected in the Samoan squad for the World Cup in November 2011, 'Tua' would miss the first month of Bristol's season.
In mid June, Bristol announced the signing of experienced full back Jon Goodridge from Esher. Following the completion of the World Cup, William Helu, Ruki Tipuna and Jason Harris-Wright also joined Bristol.
Josh Ovens, a loan signing from Bath, was recalled to the Premiership club in December for their game against Sale. Under the conditions of the loan arrangement, Bath can only recall Ovens for a game on the condition he appears in the matchday squad. Ovens was named Man of the Match for the Sale game. He was recalled again in December for Bath's game against Northampton Saints.
Bristol captain, Iain Grieve suffered an injury in the away game against Plymouth Albion in December. Initially it was thought Grieve had broken his leg. After confirming there was no fracture, the club announced that the skipper would be out for four to five weeks. Returning to action in the home game against Esher in January, Grieve fractured his eye socket and is expected to be unavailable for up to five weeks more.
Prior to Christmas, the playing squad and coaching staff visited young patients at Frenchay Hospital, handing out gifts, playing guitar and singing carols. Hooker Tom Channon and his beard dressed as Father Christmas for the occasion.
In January and February, Middleton bolstered the squad ahead of the playoffs by signing Australian back-row Henry Vanderglas, former Bristol centre Luke Eves, dual-registered Bath prop Mark Lilley, former Wales international Matthew Jones and ex-Bristol flanker Redford Pennycook. It was also announced that Liam Middleton, Jason Hobson, Iain Grieve and Jack Tovey had signed contract extensions (to keep them at Bristol Rugby until 2014, in the cases of Middleton, Hobson and Grieve).
On Tuesday 7 February 2012, Bristol Rugby Chairman Chris Booy announced that Steve Lansdown is to become the majority shareholder of the club and that he has been supporting the club financially since the 2008/09 season. It was confirmed that Booy would continue as Chairman and Steve Gorvett as Chief Executive.
As the regular season drew to a close, the club announced that several players had signed contract extensions to keep them at the Memorial Ground for the 2012/13 season, including James Merriman, Roy Winters, Jon Goodridge, Marco Mama and Ruki Tipuna.
Bristol won seven of their first eight league games (only losing to Leeds away in the third game) before a patch of poor form saw away losses to Rotherham and Moseley. Bristol returned to winning ways for the remainder of 2011 with six straight victories. 2012 began with three victories from four games, ensuring Bristol finished top of the league at the end of the 'regular season' for the first time since 2009/10. In the final two games of the regular season (before the playoffs), Bristol lost to Cornish Pirates away and beat Doncaster at home.
In the playoffs, Bristol recorded four wins and two draws from their six games against Doncaster, Nottingham and London Welsh, placing them at the top of the table and facing Cornish Pirates in the two-leg semi final. A poor performance in the first leg at Mennaye Field led to a 45-24 loss, leaving a tough second leg at the Memorial Ground on 13 May. Despite a much improved performance and a four-try 29-18 win, Bristol were knocked out of the playoffs (aggregate score 63-53).
The loss meant it was the second time in three years that Bristol had topped the Championship table and not been promoted.
British and Irish Cup
Despite going into the British and Irish Cup as holders, Bristol used the competition as a chance to give game time to young players, members of the Academy and those returning from injury, as they have done in the past. Liam Middleton explained his decision, saying that the club's focus would be on the league. This selection policy, perhaps unsurprisingly, resulted in Bristol losing all four of their group games (against Cornish Pirates, Moseley, Neath and Ayr) and therefore did not progress to the next stage of the competition.
Player of the Month awards
- September 2011: Josh Ovens
- October 2011: Jack Tovey
- November 2011: Roy Winters
- December 2011: Fautua Otto
- January 2012: James Merriman
- February 2012: Ruki Tipuna
- March 2012: Marco Mama
As the 2011/12 season drew closer to its end, Bristol began announcing signings of players who would join/leave them for the start of the 2012/13 season.
- James Grindal from Leicester Tigers
- David McIlwaine from Doncaster Knights
- Adrian Jarvis from London Irish
- Bryan Rennie from Exeter Chiefs
- Bruce Douglas from Worcester Warriors
- George Biagi from Aironi
- Kyle Traynor from Edinburgh
- Michael Tagicakibau from Saracens
- Alafoti Fa'osiliva from RC Toulonnais
- Gaston Cortes from Córdoba Athletic
- Ben Mosses from Bath Rugby (DR)
- Will Tanner from Bath Rugby (DR)
- Josh Ovens returns to Bath Rugby
- Junior Fatialofa to Cornish Pirates
- Louis Silver to Doncaster Knights
- Sean Marsden (retired)
- Jason Harris-Wright to Connacht
- Henry Vanderglas to Grenoble
- Matty James to Nevers
- Will Helu returning to New Zealand
- Darren Crompton (retired)
- Darren Barry
- Dan Montagu
- Mark Irish
- Jake Caulfield
- Mark Davies
- James Letherby
In early July 2012, Dean Ryan joined Bristol Rugby in a consultancy role. The former Bristol head coach will remain in his primary role for Sky Sports and spend approximately one day per week with Bristol Rugby. His role will involve working primarily with the Board of Directors and Head Coach Liam Middleton to advise on any issues that have an impact on the Club's ambitions to return to the Aviva Premiership.
In January 2013, Bristol City Council voted to approve plans for the Memorial Ground to be demolished for a Sainsbury's supermarket to be built (the Memorial Gates which are a war memorial dedicated to the memory of the city's rugby players that died in the two World Wars are to be retained and enhanced). Both Bristol Rugby and Bristol Rovers will continue playing at the Memorial Ground during the 2013/14 season, at which point Bristol Rovers will move to the newly built UWE Stadium in Filton (joint owned by UWE). Bristol Rugby's future home was yet to be decided at the time, but the most likely options were to move to the UWE Stadium as tenants of Bristol Rovers and UWE, or to move to Ashton Gate (or the proposed Ashton Vale stadium) as tenants of Bristol City.
Shortly after the appointment of Andy Robinon as Director of Rugby, Liam Middleton departed the club with immediate effect, with Robinson taking over all head coach duties for the remainder of the 2012/13 season.
Following the end of the season, Bristol announced that Sean Holley and John Harrison will be joining the club as First Team Coach and Team Manager, respectively.
Bristol had a poor start to the Championship season. In mid-November, Bristol were in 9th place, after three wins and five losses (including a 50-31 away loss to Leeds, and a 63-7 loss at Nottingham). Their season improved after this and by the start of March, with seven games of the regular season remaining, Bristol were fourth in the table, putting them on contention for a place in the end-of-season promotion playoffs. However, defeats to Nottingham and Moseley in March left Bristol with an uphill struggle to reach the playoffs.
On 20 April, Bristol ended Newcastle's 21-game unbeaten run by beating them at Kingston Park in the final game of the regular season. However, on the same day Leeds beat Nottingham to ensure Bristol would finish in 5th place and not have a chance to compete in the playoffs.
|Club||Played||Won||Drawn||Lost||Points For||Points Against||Points Difference||Try Bonus||Losing Bonus||Points|
|1||Newcastle Falcons (F)||22||21||0||1||677||252||425||13||1||98|
|3||Bedford Blues (F)||22||14||1||7||664||485||179||11||2||71|
|4||Leeds Carnegie (SF)||22||13||0||9||585||480||105||9||6||67|
|8||London Scottish||22||10||0||12||456||610||–154||4||4||45[n 1]|
|12||Doncaster Knights (R)||22||3||1||18||364||592||–228||2||7||23|
|Green background are promotion play-off places. Pink background is the relegation place.
Updated: 21 April 2013 Source
- Errie Claassens from Worcester
- Andy Short from Worcester
- Peter Buxton from Gloucester
- Mark Sorenson from Northampton
- Nicky Robinson from Wasps
- Charlie Amesbury from Sale
- Ben Skirving from Bath
- James Hall from Newcastle
- Ben Mosses from Bath
- Tom Channon to Cornish Pirates
- Michael Tagicakibau to Saracens
- David McIlwaine to Ulster
- Roy Winters - retiring
- Jack Gadd - retiring
- Jon Goodridge - retiring
- George Biagi - released
- Wayne Thompson - released
- Alafoti Faosiliva - released
- Matthew Jones - released
- Tom Slater to Cardiff RFC
- Matt Williams - released
Note: Flags indicate national union as has been defined under IRB eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-IRB nationality.
Internationally Capped Players
- Mariano Sambucetti
- Gastón Cortes
- Jason Hobson
- Ruki Tipuna (New Zealand Sevens)
- Fautua Otto
- James Merriman (Wales Sevens)
- Kyle Traynor
- Nicky Robinson
- Bruce Douglas
- Director of Rugby - Andy Robinson
- First Team Coach - Sean Holley
- Team Manager - John Harrison
Medical & fitness
- Head Physiotherapist - Daniel Martin
- Physiotherapist - Jon Hill
- Sports Therapist - Kate Rehill
- Team Doctors – Jonathan Williams & Jo Probert
- Head of Strength & Conditioning - Lee Douglas
- Assistant Strength & Conditioning – Andrew Petts
- Academy Manager - Mike Hall
- Academy Coach - Matthew Sherratt
- Academy Strength & Conditioning Coach - Thomas Hargroves
- Chief Executive Officer – Steve Gorvett
- Business Support Director – John Portch
- Communications Officer – Nicol McClelland
- HR Manager – Nikki Locke
- Community Manager – Ben Breeze
- Community Marketing Manager – Katie Breeze
- HR & Financial Assisant - Lesley Duvenage
- Financial Controller - Alec Bellamy
- Ticketing and Retail Manager - Steve Gray
- Ticketing Assistant - Louise Sharp
- Commercial Manager - Suzanne Roper
- John Player Cup Champions 1983
- John Player/Pilkington Cup Runners Up 1973, 1984, 1988
- Allied Dunbar Premiership Two Champions 1998/99
- Powergen Shield Champions 2004
- National Division One Champions 2004/05
- British and Irish Cup Champions 2011
Notable former players
- See also Category:Bristol Rugby players
- "Martin Haag departs as Bristol Rugby Forwards Coach". bristolrugby.co.uk. 15 June 2007.
- "John Brain Joins Bristol Rugby Coaching Staff". bristolrugby.co.uk. 15 June 2007.
- "London Irish 38–21 Bristol". The BBC. 4 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
- "Richard Hill leaves Bristol Rugby". bristolrugby.co.uk. 27 February 2009.
- "English league results". ipernews.com.
- "Winters "honoured" to accept role as Club Captain". bristolrugby.co.uk. 20 July 2009.
- "Spice handed role of 2009/10 Playing Captain". bristolrugby.co.uk. 19 August 2009.
- "Bristol Rugby announce 2009/10 Main Sponsor". bristolrugby.co.uk. 13 August 2009.
- "Injury update: Ed Barnes". bristolrugby.co.uk. 7 October 2009.
- "Hull steps down from England Saxons". bristolrugby.co.uk. 10 November 2009.
- "Bristol Rugby welcomes Sam Giddens!". bristolrugby.co.uk. 20 November 2009.
- "Bristol Rugby announce signing of Alex Crockett". bristolrugby.co.uk. 4 December 2009.
- "Trio commit to Bristol Rugby". bristolrugby.co.uk. 21 January 2010.
- "Future's bright with two further signings". bristolrugby.co.uk. 2 February 2010.
- "Luke Arscott completes six re-signings for Bristol". bristolrugby.co.uk. 5 February 2010.
- "Fijian star Little joins Bristol Rugby". bristolrugby.co.uk. 26 February 2010.
- "Montpellier : Toleafoa à Bristol". rugby-transferts.com. 16 April 2010.
- "Philemon Toleafoa's profile on scrum.com". scrum.com.
- "Arscott, Eves, Crockett, Robinson and Phillips depart". bbc.co.uk. 11 Jun 2010.
- "Luke Eves leaves Bristol for Newcastle Falcons". bbc.co.uk. 27 May 2010.
- "Warriors sign dynamic back Arscott". warriors.co.uk. 29 June 2010.
- "It's so tough for me to leave Bristol Rugby – James Phillips". thisisbristol.co.uk. 10 June 2010.
- "I really didn't want to leave Bristol, says Redford Pennycook". thisisbristol.co.uk. 24 June 2010.
- "Bristol Rugby to reveal who is staying at the Memorial Stadium". thisisbristol.co.uk. 25 June 2010.
- "Chiefs take the win in hard fought battle at the top". bristolrugby.co.uk. 4 October 2009.
- "Bristol fall short as Doncaster find their form. Final score 26–22". bristolrugby.co.uk. 24 October 2009.
- "Four-try Bristol lose out to determined Moseley". bristolrugby.co.uk. 13 March 2010.
- "Bristol begin play-off campaign with hard fought win over Pirates". bristolrugby.co.uk. 19 March 2010.
- "Battling Bristol fail to overcome the Blues". bristolrugby.co.uk. 27 March 2010.
- "Two-try Bristol secure second play-off win". bristolrugby.co.uk. 2 April 2010.
- "Bristol spring into action with bonus point win". bristolrugby.co.uk. 10 April 2010.
- "Bristol through to semi-finals after bonus win over Blues". bristolrugby.co.uk. 18 April 2010.
- "Bristol on their way to the Final after victory over Welsh". bristolrugby.co.uk. 7 May 2010.
- "Tireless Chiefs edge narrow victory in first leg of Final". bristolrugby.co.uk. 19 May 2010.
- "Bristol's Premiership dream washed away as Chiefs take the title". bristolrugby.co.uk. 27 May 2010.
- "Bristol young guns take win at Neath". bristolrugby.co.uk. 20 November 2009.
- "Six try Cup victory for Bristol's youngsters". bristolrugby.co.uk. 13 February 2010.
- "Captain Merriman leads the way in British & Irish Cup win". bristolrugby.co.uk. 28 February 2010.
- "Bristol's hard fought victory extends winning run". bristolrugby.co.uk. 7 March 2010.
- "Bristol lose out to Munster A". bristolrugby.co.uk. 27 November 2009.
- "Winters happy to help Bristol captain Grieve". thisisbristol.co.uk. 1 July 2010.
- "Four favourites re-sign while two new signings join Bristol Rugby". bristolrugby.co.uk. 13 July 2010.
- "Nicky Little commits to Bristol Rugby". bristolrugby.co.uk. 23 August 2010.
- "Marco Mama joins Bristol Academy". bristolrugby.co.uk. 28 August 2010.
- "Budgett agrees new contract to remain with Bristol". thisisbristol.co.uk. 2 September 2010.
- "Elliott and Brandling-Harris sign for Bristol". bristolrugby.co.uk. 21 October 2010.
- "Bath Rugby make move for star prop Mako Vunipola". thisisbristol.co.uk. 14 January 2011.
- "Jason Hobson Signs For Bristol Rugby Until End Of Season". bristolrugby.co.uk. 1 February 2011.
- "Adrian Jarvis leaves Bristol Rugby". bristolrugby.co.uk. 7 February 2011.
- "Nathan Budgett Announces Retirement". bristolrugby.co.uk. 15 February 2011.
- "Liam Middleton Announced As New Head Coach". bristolrugby.co.uk. 4 March 2011.
- "Grieve Given One-Week Suspension". bristolrugby.co.uk. 14 March 2011.
- "Bristol Rugby 23 London Welsh 6". bristolrugby.co.uk. 30 January 2011.
- "Birmingham & Solihull 16 Bristol Rugby 26". bristolrugby.co.uk. 6 February 2011.
- "Bristol Rugby Secure Play-Off Place In Torrential Conditions". bristolrugby.co.uk. 13 February 2011.
- "Rotherham Titans 22 Bristol Rugby 21". bristolrugby.co.uk. 19 February 2011.
- "Bristol Rugby 23 Nottingham 37". bristolrugby.co.uk. 11 December 2010.
- "Bristol change focus for British & Irish Cup matches". bbc.co.uk. 12 January 2011.
- "Bristol Rugby Secure B&I Semi-Final Spot". bristolrugby.co.uk. 6 March 2011.
- "Five Star Bristol Seal Home Cup Final". bristolrugby.co.uk. 26 April 2011.
- "Bristol Clinc B&I Cup". bristolrugby.co.uk. 7 May 2011.
- "Grieve could be out for a month". bristolrugby.co.uk. 13 December 2011.
- "Iain Grieve Suffers Fractured Eye Socket". bristolrugby.co.uk. 10 January 2012.
- "Bristol Rugby visit Frenchay Hospital". bristolrugby.co.uk. 20 December 2011.
- "Bristol Trio Agree New Contracts". bristolrugby.co.uk. 20 January 2012.
- "Liam Middleton, Iain Grieve and Jason Hobson commit to Bristol". bbc.co.uk. 20 January 2012.
- "Chairman's Statement: Lansdown To Become Majority Shareholder". bristolrugby.co.uk. 7 February 2012.
- "Bristol City major shareholder Steve Lansdown buys Bristol Rugby". thisisbristol.co.uk. 7 February 2012.
- "Bristol City FC's Steve Lansdown named as rugby club owner". bbc.co.uk. 7 February 2012.
- "RFU Upholds London Scottish Verdict". London Scottish. 13 December 2012. Retrieved 23 December 2012.