The Premiership is in danger of becoming like football – on Thursday Bristol suspended Andy Robinson after 7 successive defeats in the top flight.
Bristol were promoted on 25th May this year – the Premiership kicked off on 2nd September – giving them just three months to recruit and prepare for the massive leap up.
Their first game was away at Twickenham against Harlequins. A game they lost by just 21-19 – a bonus point that should have been 4 after the ref and TMO awarded a try for Quins from a forward pass (something to do with the bollocks about which way the hands are pointing!).
Bristol also lost the influential Gavin Henson after he was hit late – apart from a few minutes last week he remains on the injured list.
Even with three extra points Bristol would still be adrift at the bottom of the Premiership.
The chances of any Championship side coming up and surviving for more than a season or two is limited – and getting harder by the season.
The funding gap grows ever larger and the increased salary cap in the top flight creates a hurdle that will be difficult to combat until Bill Gates decides to buy a team.
I’m not quite sure what Robinson could have done to make Bristol competitive – or why Steve Lansdown, the billionaire owner now thinks that Mark Tainton or even Heineke Meyer will be able to stop what seems to be an inevitable return to the ‘wild west’ that is the Championship.
Paul Grayson has publicly labelled the move disgraceful – I agree –
There have been rumours that Bristol are targeting Ma’a Nonu and Eben Etzebeth to join Bristol –
According to reports Etzebeth is being offered £40,000 a match for just 6 games and is close to signing – if it’s true it is hard to believe he’ll turn it down. I suspect Saracens didn’t offer that much.
Bristol may well be trying to stay up by offering short term mercenary contracts.
You have to wonder if (or why not) Andy Robinson wasn’t given that sort of budget.