Luatua agrees surprise move to Bristol


Bristol have pulled off a coup by securing the signature of New Zealand second-row forward Steven Luatua for next season.

Bottom of the Premiership with just two wins from their 14 games so far this season, Luatua could end up playing second-tier rugby if Bristol cannot secure survival.

Luatua, who has 15 All Blacks caps to his name, will link up with Pat Lam - a former coach of his Super Rugby franchise Blues.

Bristol described the deal as "among the most significant signings in the club's recent history".

Luatua said in a statement: "I have a fantastic relationship with Pat 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."

Luatua was not a member of the All Blacks' World Cup-winning squad in 2015, but appeared for his country as recently as last November.