Bristol sign All Blacks star Charles Piutau on two-year deal

Charles Piutau currently plays for Ulster. (Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Bristol have pulled off a huge coup with the capture of star back Charles Piutau ahead of the 2018-19 season on a two-year deal.

Piutau will play one final campaign at Ulster before switching to the English side, who are bidding to secure promotion to the Aviva Premiership after being relegated last term.

The capture is one of the biggest in Bristol's history given Piutau is regarded as one of the finest players in Europe, and his pedigree as a destructive back who has played so impressively on the world stage.

If Bristol gain promotion, then Piutau -- who won 17 caps for New Zealand -- will line up against his former side Wasps who he joined on a short-term deal in the 2015-16 season.

Piutau said ex-Connacht coach Pat Lam now being in charge at the Championship side was a big draw, as was his older brother Siale who is also on Bristol's books.

The move also sees him link up with fellow All Black and ex-Blues teammate Steven Luatua. It will serve as a huge boost for Bristol as they start their Championship campaign and Lam is understandably delighted with the capture.

"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," Lam said.

"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.

"It's not just his ability to play fullback, wing and centre, all at international standard, but it's also his willingness to help and mentor others which will be a big boost for our young English players coming through.

"Charles is excited by our vision of 'inspiring our community through rugby success.' His determination and attitude to improve as a player and person are exactly the sort of world class characteristics we want in every player who pulls on the Bristol jersey."

Piutau, 25, added: "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.

"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."