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Page last updated at 18:19 GMT, Saturday, 4 April 2009 19:19 UK

Bristol 'can come back stronger'

Bristol coach Paul Hull
Hull took over from previous coach Richard Hill

Bristol coach Paul Hull insists the foundations are in place for his team to bounce back after their relegation from the Guinness Premiership.

A 38-21 loss to London Irish on Saturday confirmed Bristol's relegation after a season of consistent struggle.

"The future is bright and the club is well placed to come straight back up," said Hull.

"I won't make predictions but we're in a stronger position than last time we were relegated."

Bristol have been in serious danger of the drop for most of the season, and parted company with head coach Richard Hill in February.

And the defeat by the Exiles, their 17th loss of the league campaign, coupled with Worcester's win over Saracens condemned Bristol to the inevitable - life in National League One.

"We're very, very disappointed but we knew it was a long shot," added Hull.


"It's been an emotional rollercoaster over the last five weeks and I'm just proud that the players have stuck at it.

"London Irish was a game too far but at least we played right until the end.

"Today is a dark day but most people thought we'd go down and felt we were just staving off the inevitable.

"Hopefully you'll never see any Bristol player give up. As a team we won't do that."

Bristol have lost the services of number eight Dan Ward-Smith for next season, and several other players are expected to follow him out of the Memorial Stadium.

Nevertheless, Hull is confident he will be able to bring together a squad capable of coming through the trials of life in National League One.

"The foundations for next season have been put in place over the last couple of weeks," he said.

"I've been recruiting heavily behind the scenes. There are a few more holes to fill but we're almost done and dusted.

"I'll speak to everyone in the squad and we'll decide what happens from here. Everything is ongoing.

"The game plan is taking shape and we'll have a squad to compete with guys who passionately want to play for Bristol.

"Every club wants to be in the Premiership. This is where the prizes are, where the pressure is and where international players operate."

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