Bristol Rugby's new signing Mark Sorenson already has strong links to the city - his grandmother was born here
New signing Mark Sorenson already has a deep connection with Bristol – his grandmother was born in the city.
Bristol Rugby again hinted at their desire to re-establish themselves in the Aviva Premiership when they today confirmed that they will sign the New Zealander from Northampton this summer.
And Sorenson, who played alongside Bristol scrum-half Ruki Tipuna at Bay of Plenty, already has a degree of local knowledge.
The forward, who moved to England with Newcastle in 2006, said: “I have done a fair bit of research into Bristol and it looks like a really good place to live, particularly as we have two young sons.
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“But I have also got family ties to the city, because my grandmother was born in Bristol – so I already have that connection.
“My brother and sister-in-law lived there as well. They don’t live there now, but my sister-in-law lived in Bristol for nine years, so I’ve got ties to Bristol.
“It all means I’ve got a good base and some kind of affinity with the place before I’ve even moved there.
“And from my visits down there recently, it seems like a really nice place with plenty of lovely areas to live.”
And while he is enthused about life off the field in Bristol, Sorenson – a keen surfer who will relish being close to the coast – is also extremely positive about his new career on the pitch.
He today became the second experienced forward to join Bristol this week, following news Gloucester flanker Peter Buxton, who will also move to the club this summer.
And the 33-year-old, who has made 124 Premiership appearances for Newcastle and Northampton, is impressed by Bristol’s ambition to return to the top flight.
“I feel lucky to have the opportunity to come down and play for Bristol,” said Sorenson. “The ambition of the club is a major reason for me deciding to sign – Liam (Middleton, head coach) has explained the club’s vision to me and it’s exciting.
“It sounds as if there’s a really good formula in place and I want to come down and play my part in that. It’s easy to want to jump on board when a club has real ambition.”
Bristol still have an outside chance of winning promotion to the Premiership through this season’s Championship play-offs.
But if they are still in English rugby’s second tier next season, the 6ft 5in forward’s enthusiasm for life at his new club will not be dimmed.
“I understand that either scenario is possible, but whichever one it is, I want to be involved,” said Sorenson.
“That has not been a massive part of my decision-making process – what competition Bristol are in next season.
“It is what it is come the end of the season and I will look forward to the challenge of playing in whichever competition we happen to be in next season.”
Sorenson, who has made 18 Heineken Cup appearances, will join fellow Premiership players Buxton, Errie Claassens and Andy Short at Bristol next season. He is English qualified and has recently applied for a British passport.