Bristol Rugby look on course for a Premiership return, insists John Bentley
FORMER British & Irish Lion John Bentley insists Bristol have never been more Premiership ready both on and off the field than they are right now.
Bentley, pictured, now community marketing manager at Leeds, saw his own side's hopes of bouncing straight back to the Premiership end on Sunday courtesy of the Cornish Pirates' narrow 21-20 win against Bedford.
But Bristol show no signs of slowing down, with a semi-final spot already in hand as they look to return to the Premiership for the first time since suffering relegation in 2009.
Bristol fans will however be wary of false dawns having fallen when seemingly on the home stretch with financial restrictions holding them back in the last two seasons.
Dyson DC50i - Bagless upright vacuum cleaner - BALL Technology -...View details
Thisi is Dyson's smallest upright vacuum cleaner with the performance of a full size upright machine. The DC50i has Dyson's most advanced cleaner head technology and 2 Tier RadialTM cyclones.
Terms: LIMITED STOCK OFFER. FREE delivery to most UK postcodes - Next working day dispatch.
Contact: 01664 491439
Valid until: Monday, May 27 2013
However, with money issues a thing of the past, Bentley believes there could be no stopping Bristol's march to English rugby's top table.
"I think there were some problems at Bristol that held them back in the past, but they seem to be behind them now and it is good to see," said Bentley.
"All the clubs are losing money. There are only three clubs in rugby that make money – Leicester, Northampton and Leeds Rhinos.
"The onus is always on the clubs relegated to be promoted and that has almost always happened, but it didn't happen with Bristol.
"But they haven't panicked and what they did do was consolidate and make sure they didn't keep going in the wrong direction.
"They look on course for a Premiership return sooner rather than later and you have to say it is well deserved for their efforts both on and off the pitch."
John Bentley is an ambassador for SSE Rugby, supporting community rugby clubs in England. Register now on www.sserugby.com to start benefiting from the support and resources on offer, and the chance to win £10,000 of free SSE energy credits for your club