Bristol Rugby, despite being relegated to the Championship, have splashed the cash in remarkable style in what they are calling the biggest signing coup in their history.
The club confirmed the signing of former All Black Charles Piutau on a two year deal from Ulster, though crucially he will not join the club until the 2018/19 season.
On the club website they call it “one of the biggest coups in the club’s history”.
“One of our key focuses is about the journey that Bristol Rugby are on – Charles’ signing for the 2018/19 season demonstrates that we have a long-term plan and structure in place,” Head Coach Lam told bristolrugby.co.uk.
“We’re thrilled to have an individual of his immense quality and experience to add to our ranks. As somebody who has worked with Charles previously, I know what an influential player he is on and off the field.”
Piutau said on the club’s website: “To join Bristol Rugby and be part of the vision that Pat Lam and his coaching team has is very appealing to me. I understand the challenges that lie ahead for the club but firmly believe Bristol can once again become a major force in English and European rugby.
“I’m looking forward to playing alongside my brother Siale and being part of a club that can inspire the community and receives massive backing from the city’s supporters.
“By sorting my playing future early, I can focus entirely on Ulster this season and what the team can achieve in the Pro14 and Europe.”