# all in the name
Recently-promoted Bristol announce 'brave new era' with Bears name change
Pat Lam has urged supporters to stay with the team and help them realise their dream of becoming a Champions Cup club.

BRISTOL RUGBY WILL return to the Aviva Premiership under a new name after the recently-promoted club announce it is rebranding as the Bristol Bears ahead of the 2018/19 season.

rugby-sc-twitface-2 Former Leinster out-half Ian Madigan [right] is currently on the books at Bristol.

Pat Lam’s side secured promotion back to the top-flight of English rugby with three league games remaining and, on Friday, lifted the Championship trophy following their demolition of Doncaster Knights.

In announcing today’s news, owner Steve Lansdown said the rebranding to the Bears had been planned for some time and was not a knee-jerk decision, heralding a ‘brave new era’ for the club.

As part of the rebranding process, the club have unveiled a new crest and kit for their first season back in the Premiership, with the news drawing a mixed reaction from supporters.

The club hopes the change will attract a ‘new generation of supporters’, with the new name coming into effect from 1 June 2018.

“This is an exciting and major commitment to ensuring the future success of the club,” Lansdown said.

“We recognise that there is a history and tradition associated with all sports clubs and we are conscious and proud of the loyalty, bond and passion so many share for Bristol Rugby.

“We have to be prepared to break the mould and be relentless in driving the progression of this rugby club. In a challenging market, in order to attract investment and new audiences, we must be brave in our vision. The development of the brand expands our appeal to a global audience at a time when the appetite for professional rugby is growing in international markets.”

Under former Connacht coach Lam, Bristol have won 20 out of their 21 Championship matches this season and have already made a number of high-profile signings for next season, including the capture of All Black Charles Piutau from Ulster.

Bristol v Doncaster - Greene King IPA Championship Harry Trump Lam has guided Bristol to promotion in his first season in charge. Harry Trump

Irish out-half Ian Madigan has played a key role in the club’s promotion this term, while John Muldoon is joining the coaching staff next season when he calls time on his playing career with Connacht this summer.

“For Bristol Bears to become a Champions Cup team, we need a ‘Champions Cup’ attitude in everything we do,” Lam said.

“We are establishing a pathway for England players, expanding our Academy network and working hard with our young players to ensure homegrown Bristolians are at the very core of our team.

“I firmly believe that with the backing of Stephen Lansdown and our magnificent supporters, we are capable of delivering upon a bright new era for Bristol Bears, certainly the most exciting period in this club’s long history. As a collective – players, staff, supporters — we must capitalise on this chance and not let it slip away.

“The bear is emblematic of leadership, of strength and confidence, of standing against adversity and taking action. This animal is feared and admired for its power. Its presence inspires respect.

“We have a unique opportunity to stamp our legacy in the history books. We believe we can be a Champions Cup winning team and we believe that we can inspire a Bristol community to fill Ashton Gate. Stay with us and help us realise that dream.”

Bristol Rugby TV / YouTube

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