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Bristol Rugby can still win this final, says club chairman Chris Booy

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: June 03, 2014

By STEVE COTTON

Bristol chairman Chris Booy, left, alongside director of rugby Andy Robinson

Bristol chairman Chris Booy, left, alongside director of rugby Andy Robinson

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Bristol chairman Chris Booy has sounded a rallying call ahead of the second leg of his team's GKIPA Championship final against London Welsh tomorrow.

Bristol must overturn a 19-point deficit in their final game at the Memorial Stadium after 93 years at the venue, having lost 27-8 in Oxford six days ago.

Chairman Booy remains positive his team can become the first side to reach the Aviva Premiership via the Championship play-offs after losing the first leg of the final.

He has also addressed fears over what failure to reach the Premiership tomorrow would mean for the club, insisting that backer Steve Lansdown's financial commitment will not waver and that "we will get back in the Premiership" at some stage soon.

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Booy has also confirmed that, should Bristol not win promotion tomorrow, two of their summer signings have clauses allowing them to go on loan to top-level clubs next season. However, both would return to Bristol ahead of "the business end of the Championship season".

Booy, however, is not thinking about defeat, and has backed Andy Robinson's men to make up their 19-point deficit.

"I absolutely believe," he said. "I see no reason why we can't win the match and win the tie. There's absolutely no doubt in my mind.

"The guys are angry and they feel as if they let everyone down in the first leg. But they are ready for Wednesday and they are confident.

"If we remember the last time we played London Welsh at the Memorial Stadium, we put in a very, very strong performance and led 22-0. It was only right at the end of the game, when we turned off, that they came back into it.

"We need to score early. We don't need to panic, but we need to score first, and all of a sudden it's a 12-point game. Throw in the atmosphere the crowd will create – which I know will be amazing – and you never know.

"We are not stupidly confident or over-confident – we know there's an awful lot to do. But we believe we can do it."

Should Bristol not be successful tomorrow evening – and the odds are stacked against them – Booy said there would be disappointment but no panic or cause for concern.

"In the year since Andy came in as director of rugby, we have become much stronger – and we will be even stronger next season: look at the signings we have made," said Booy.

"With Steve Lansdown's financial support, there is no issue. We are on a path and a progression. Of course, it would be hugely disappointing if we don't do it on Wednesday, but we will carry on with our path and get better and better.

"We will win, and we will get back in the Premiership. If it isn't this year, it will be next year; and if it isn't next year, it will be the year after. We, and I include Steve Lansdown in that, are absolutely committed to getting this club back in the Premiership.

"We have made the signings we have made, and we will continue to improve the squad as best we can, to get where we need to be.

"Our view is that it will be easier to stay in the Premiership than to get there, because of the lottery of the play-offs. But the players we have signed have bought into our vision of the future – and we will get there.

"If we don't go up on Wednesday evening, it will be a setback, but we will come back stronger. There is no panic like last time (after the 2010 play-off final loss to Exeter), when we weren't sufficiently funded. Steve Lansdown is absolutely behind us."

Booy said none of next season's signings – which include Jack Lam, Dwayne Peel, Anthony Perenise, Matthew Morgan and David Lemi – have get-out clauses if Bristol fail to return to the Premiership.

But he admitted that two players, who he did not feel it would be fair to name, had "options to go on loan for part of the season".

However, he confirmed: "They would be back with us by the business end of our season – and I don't just mean for the play-offs."

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