Lam to the slaughter? Coach to swap Pro12 champions Connacht for battling Bristol

Updated: 

Pat Lam will leave Pro12 champions Connacht to coach Bristol next season.

The former Samoa and New Zealand international led provincial side Auckland and then Blues in Super Rugby, before moving to Connacht in 2013.

The 48-year-old will be charged with improving Bristol's fortunes after the club - promoted last season as Championship play-off winners - made a miserable start to life in the Premiership, prompting the departure of director of rugby Andy Robinson last month. 

"I'm excited about the opportunity to coach and lead Bristol Rugby - a proud club with history, tradition and a bright future ahead," Lam said in a statement. 

"As with my decision to help Connacht Rugby four years ago, my coaching philosophy is very much aligned to ... making Bristol Rugby a club where the Bristol community can be inspired and Bristol players have a genuine pathway to represent England by the quality of our rugby programme.

Of the likelihood his new team will be back in the second tier next term, he added: "I'm committed to Bristol irrespective as to what happens in the short-term - everything is in place for the club to be a force in the future and I'm honoured to be invited to join the journey."

Bristol remain winless after 10 matches of the Premiership season, with acting head coach Mark Tainton as yet unable to arrest their slump.