Bristol Rugby have confirmed the signing of Steven Luatua.
The 15-times capped All Black will join Pat Lam at Bristol next season, a club that have been eager to splash their cash ahead of the 2017/18 season.
Luatua will certainly add incredible athleticism to their current side, evidenced by the promotional video released in tandem with the announcement.
As goes without saying, Bristol are delighted to have acquired his services, as head coach Mark Tainton was quoted as saying:
“The signing of Steven – beating off competition from a number of high profile clubs – underlines the ambition of Bristol Rugby as well as Stephen Lansdown and the board’s desire to drive us forward.”
The ambition appears to be both long-term as well as short-term focused. Given Lam’s exploits at bringing youth through at Connacht, Bristol will likely be hoping he can develop young talent at Bristol as well. Allied to this is the fact that Luatua is just 25 years old, a point Tainton was quick to point out.
“He’s a hungry, ambitious 25-year-old and a standout performer at the very highest level – we’re delighted to welcome him to Bristol Rugby and it’s a massive acquisition for us.”
The neatness of the fit between Luatua and Lam is further emphasised by the fact they already know each other from their time at New Zealand Rugby franchise the Blues, as the lock-cum-back-row pointed out:
“I have a fantastic relationship with Pat [Lam] and I enjoyed working with him at the Blues. I’m looking forward to taking on a new challenge with Bristol and contributing to the long term vision of the club.”
Bristol currently sit bottom of the Aviva Premiership, five points adrift of the team immediately ahead of them, Worcester.
More acquisitions like this one however, and the future will likely see Bristol competing at the opposite end of the table in years to come.
Colm Egan, Pundit Arena