It is understandable that there may be a mass exodus of players from Bristol in the summer when you consider the club have been relegated to the Championship.
Of course, the club have a billionaire owner which definitely helps when it comes to encouraging players to stay at the club and Stephen Lansdown’s ambition would have certainly encouraged Pat Lam to leave Connacht for next season.
Although you would expect Bristol to come straight back up into the Premiership after one season in English rugby’s second tier – players want to play at the highest level and when you have talent in your squad, you have to be wary of other teams pursuing your players.
Jason Woodward, the New Zealand-born full back has signed for Gloucester ahead of next season. The talented 26-year-old has flirted with other nations in terms of his international eligibility.
Woodward spent two years with the Melbourne Rebels before signing for the Hurricanes in 2014. After two years with the Wellington outfit, he made the move to England to play at Ashton Gate.
Woodward was recently called up to Eddie Jones’ England strength and conditioning training camp which takes place on Tuesday.
Gloucester Director of Rugby, David Humphreys, is delighted that Woodward will be playing out of Kingsholm next season.
“Jason is a player who we have been aware of for some time now, even before he played against us this season, and we are delighted to have agreed a deal to bring him to the club.
“We speak about wanting to have a number of quality players in every position, and Jason’s arrival gives us some great selection options at a number of positions.
“Jason has been a stand out player for Bristol since his move to Europe in November, he now knows exactly what the Aviva Premiership is all about and can hit the ground running when he arrives for preseason training.
“It also helps that he knows the area well, and has many friends in our squad from his brief time at Hartpury College during the formative years of his career which will help him to settle in quickly.”
It’s an exciting time for Gloucester with a Challenge Cup final coming up this weekend, a win there and they will have the opportunity of playing in the Champions Cup next season.