LONDON,, (Pakistan Point News - APP - 03rd Nov, 2016 ) - Former England and Scotland head coach Andy Robinson has been suspended as director of rugby at Bristol following the club's woeful start to the English Premiership season, the southwest club announced Thursday. Mark Tainton, a former Bristol fly-half and the club's all-time leading points scorer, has been appointed acting head coach with immediate effect. Bristol returned to the Premiership this season after seven years out of the top flight.
One of England's leading clubs when rugby union was an amateur sport, Bristol have struggled to make the step up so far this season. They've lost all seven of their Premiership matches and are seven points adrift at the bottom of the table -- a position all the more concerning as only the basement club are relegated at the end of the season. Bristol have also lost their opening two European Challenge Cup matches, against Cardiff and local rivals Bath -- the club where Robinson made his name as a flanker.
The 52-year-old has been in charge of Bristol since 2013 and in August signed a new three-year deal. But that did not stop Bristol from taking Thursday's dramatic course of action, with a club statement saying: "Bristol Rugby have decided, following the extremely disappointing start to the season, to appoint Mark Tainton as acting head coach with immediate effect. "The club's all-time leading points scorer, Tainton has previously coached at international level with Ireland, as well as with Wasps and London Irish in the Aviva (English) Premiership.
"The club have also taken the decision to suspend the current director of rugby, Andy Robinson, from his role. "The club will carry out an immediate review of their coaching needs and requirements. That review will be completed as quickly as possible." Meanwhile Bristol chairman Chris Booy told the club's website: "This is clearly a very difficult time for the club, but we remain confident we can retain our position in the Premiership. "The support for the club this season has been outstanding, and that continued backing is very important going forward.
" Bristol suffered a narrow loss to Harlequins in their season opener but have since been well-beaten by reigning champions Saracens, Wasps, Exeter and Northampton. Heyneke Meyer, the former South Africa coach who had a brief spell in charge of Premiership side Leicester, is among those who have been linked with a move to a senior coaching role at Bristol.