Bristol captain Dwayne Peel unfazed by Championship season

Dwayne Peel
Peel played a part in two Grand Slam triumphs with Wales in 2005 and 2008

Captain Dwayne Peel has said he is not concerned about dropping a level to play in the Championship with Bristol.

The Wales and former British and Irish Lions scrum-half, 33, has spent the last six seasons in the Premiership with Sale.

He agreed a two-year deal with Bristol in January, prior to the club's play-off final defeat by London Welsh.

"When I signed for Bristol I knew this might happen and unfortunately it did," he told BBC Radio Bristol.

"But we've put that to one side. We spoke about it for the first week or two but it hasn't been spoken about since.

"Our focus is now fully on this year and hopefully pushing for the play-off positions and promotion."

Bristol in the Championship
2009-10Finished first. Lost in play-off final against Exeter Chiefs
2010-11Finished eighth
2011-12Finished first. Lost in play-off semi-final against Cornish Pirates
2012-13 Finished fifth
2013-14 Finished first. Set to face Rotherham in semi-finals

Bristol have been battling to regain their Premiership status since their relegation from the top flight in the 2008-09 season.

Their defeat against London Welsh in May was the third time in five years the West Country club have finished top of the league, but failed to go up in the play-off final.

Peel says his previous experience of playing in the Premiership, where he has made 92 appearances, makes him more determined to get back their with Bristol.

"Every one of us wants to play in the Premiership and I've been lucky enough to play there for six years. It's a fantastic competition and it's only going to get better," said the 76-cap international.

"It's important that a club of this magnitude is in the mix for that.

"It's going to be difficult. Worcester have come down and they've strengthened and towards the end of last season they played some good rugby. But we're up for it and we'll give it a good shot."

Andy Robinson's side open their Championship campaign against Worcester Warriors on Sunday, in their first home game since their move to Bristol City's Ashton Gate.