Bristol have stated that Steve Borthwick has agreed to become England's assistant coach without the permission of the club.
Borthwick joined the English Championship side after his success with Japan at the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
Talks between Bristol and the RFU were presumed to have taken place to allow Borthwick to link up with Eddie Jones once more, but the club have now said that no discussions between Borthwick and England were permitted by his employer and that Bristol will now take action.
"Steve Borthwick has today indicated to the Club that he wishes to join the RFU coaching team," read a statement.
"Bristol Rugby want to make it clear that we have not agreed that Steve Borthwick can leave our employment.
"Steve Borthwick is subject to a recently signed long term employment contract. Bristol Rugby did not give the RFU permission to speak with Steve Borthwick.
"Bristol Rugby will take all reasonable actions as necessary to protect the Club’s position and, therefore, will not be making any further statement at this stage."