Bristol: Andy Robinson sure of return to Premiership

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Robinson hails 'courageous' Bristol

Boss Andy Robinson says he has no doubt Bristol will return to the Premiership.

The West Country club must spend a sixth season in the Championship after their 48-28 aggregate defeat in the play-off final against London Welsh.

It is the third time in five years that Bristol have finished top of the league, but failed to win promotion.

"This is a quality club and, with the support we have, this is a club that will get Premiership rugby," director of rugby Robinson told BBC Points West.

Speaking after Wednesday's 21-20 second-leg loss against Welsh, Robinson added: "It might take a couple of years to achieve it, and we're disappointed we haven't achieved it in this game, but we will achieve it."

The former England and Scotland boss took charge of Bristol in March 2013, replacing Liam Middleton, and set about overhauling the squad as they searched for a return to the Premiership.

Robinson has signed up 11 new players for next season - including Wales forward Ryan Jones, Samoa trio David Lemi, Jack Lam and Anthony Perenise, and former Wales scrum-half Dwayne Peel, but without the prospect of top-flight rugby next term, Robinson has revealed some new arrivals will be loaned back to Premiership clubs.

"We've got contracts with players and some with the potential to be loaned out - but they will be here for us for the play-offs and the end of the season," he said.

"We'll discuss it with each of them, but we're looking for commitment from players coming here."

Despite a disappointing end to an otherwise successful campaign - in which they won 15 consecutive games from December to May - Robinson believes the players should be proud of their achievements.

"This is sport - we don't always get the endings we want," he added.

"But the players can hold the heads up and they deserve a lot of credit for what they've done this year. Our aim is to now build on that for next year."

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