Player becomes first £1million player after switch to Bristol
Bristol signed Charles Piutau on Thursday night with the New Zealand star became the highest-paid player in world rugby after signing a £1million per season contract.
Piutau, who has 16 caps for the All Blacks, has signed a two-year contract with Bristol and will join his new team-mates ahead of the 2018-19 campaign after he completes his contract with Ulster.
Bristol fended off fierce competition from leading clubs in France to acquire his services and the coup will send shockwaves throughout world rugby after the Championship outfit paid well over the odds to bring in the marquee signing.
“The biggest consideration in my decision to join Bristol is the opportunity to play with my brother Siale, as he approaches the end of his career. It will also be great to work with Steven Luatua and Pat Lam again.
“I love Ulster and I’ve enjoyed learning about the history and culture of the Province.
“I must say a big thank you to the Ulster fans, who genuinely love the club and show unwavering support to the players. It is the first time that I have experienced supporters who are so passionate and loyal. The atmosphere on match nights at Kingspan Stadium is top of the list of things I’ll miss.
“Last season wasn’t a good reflection on us as players but I think we will grow in the season ahead and be much more competitive. We have a new coaching team in place and they have brought fresh ideas and skills, which the boys have responded well to. It is sad that this will be my last season in Belfast but I will be 100% focused on ensuring that I finish my Ulster career on a high.”