Bristol have pulled off a massive coup by signing All Blacks flanker Steven Luatua ahead of next season.
The 25-year-old will arrive from the Blues where he has made over 60 Super Rugby appearances and will link up with Pat Lam who coached him at the Auckland based franchise in 2012.
Capable of playing across the back-row and at lock, Luatua has made 15 appearances for the All Blacks since making his debut in 2013.
Luatua said: “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 Rugby is one of the most ambitious clubs in the UK and that’s backed up by a really passionate fan base. I’ve heard great things about the environment that is being built there and the plans in place, so I can’t wait to get started in the summer.”
Bristol Head Coach Mark Tainton added: “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.
“Since bursting onto the scene as a 19 year-old, Steven has been a consistently formidable presence, both at Super Rugby and for the All Blacks.
“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.”
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