Bristol Rugby to sign former Wales fly-half Nicky Robinson from London Wasps
BRISTOL Rugby will make another significant statement of intent regarding their Aviva Premiership ambitions when they confirm today that they have signed Nicky Robinson.
The 31-year-old fly-half, who won 13 caps for Wales, is understood to have turned down offers from several Premiership clubs to join Bristol.
The London Wasps No 10 – who has also played for Cardiff Blues and Gloucester – will join the club ahead of next season.
He follows fellow recent recruits Errie Claassens, Andy Short, Peter Buxton and Mark Sorenson, all of whom will join Bristol from Premiership clubs, while Andy Robinson will begin work as director of rugby on March 1.
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And head coach Liam Middleton is delighted to land Robinson, who has made 18 appearances this season for Wasps, including 13 of their 15 Premiership games so far.
“Nicky is a significant signing for us,” said Middleton. “He had a fair bit of Premiership interest – a lot of Premiership offers – and I’m over the moon that he chose us.
“I sat with him a couple of weeks ago and really had a good chat with him about what we’re doing and he really bought into it, so I’m chuffed.
“He’ll bring us a lot of leadership, a lot of experience, and he’s a guy who plays at 10 in a way that suits the Bristol Fashion style of rugby.”
Middleton has said that Robinson will compete with Adrian Jarvis for the No 10 shirt at Bristol next season, which raises doubts over the future of both Tristan Roberts and Matt Jones.
“Nicky will go head to head with Adrian, who has played very well and been significant for us this year,” said Middleton.
“The two of them are going to battle it out and they are quite similar in their style. At the moment, we don’t know what some of the other guys are doing but we will certainly have two very strong players in that position.”
Robinson made 125 appearances for his hometown club, Cardif Blues, scoring 666 points in the process. He then joined Gloucester, where he scored 518 points in 58 games across two seasons, before switching to Wasps.
He has featured regularly since moving to Wasps in 2011, playing 43 matches so far and scoring 371 points.
“He’s highly rated everywhere he’s been – Cardiff Blues rated him highly, Gloucester rated him highly and he did very well for them,” said Middleton.
“If you look at his statistics in the Premiership for Gloucester, he was very good there. I’m hugely excited, particularly by the fact that a guy who had so much interest from elsewhere decided to buy into what we’re doing here.”
And Middleton revealed how he sold Bristol to Robinson – even if they are playing Championship rugby next season.
“It’s a case of saying, ‘If we’re in the Championship, the only thing you will have different to the Premiership is the team you play against on a Saturday’,” said Middleton.
“Everything in the week and the environment around the club is Premiership standard – the training environment, the coaching, the strength and conditioning, the facilities. It’s all Premiership standard.
“The other thing a player such as Nicky is buying into is the challenge. The goal is always to reach the Premiership but I think these players can see a case of, ‘If I sign for Bristol, in the time of my contract I am going to play Premiership rugby’.
“The challenge of achieving that is actually quite strong. I was quite surprised with guys like Mark Sorenson, and particularly Nicky, how being a part of the rise of a club is quite exciting. It fits in with what they want to achieve.”