Bristol boss Pat Lam has announced that 20 players will leave Ashton Gate at the end of June. Jordan Crane, Will Hurrell, Aly Muldowney and Tom Lindsay are all retiring from the professional game. Winger Ryan Edwards departs after eight years with the Bears, with James Lay, Jordan Lay and Adrian Choat returning to New Zealand.
Ian Madigan is set to join Ulster, where he will face Ospreys-bound Mat Protheroe and Nicky Thomas in the Guinness PRO14. Joe Batley has signed with Worcester, while Nic Stirzaker, Lewis Thiede, Shaun Malton, Luke Daniels, Sam Graham, Ollie Dawe, Luke Hamilton and Bryan Byrne also depart.
Director of rugby Pat Lam is set to welcome seven new signings for next season, including England prop Kyle Sinckler. Semi Radradra, Chris Cook and Mitch Eadie are also joining, with Ben Earl and Max Malins due to arrive on loan from Saracens. Fiji’s Siva Naulago is set to arrive in the autumn.
Lam told the club’s website: “We had a very emotional online team farewell to honour all our leavers last Friday, but I would like to publicly thank all our departing players for contributing to our journey during their time at Bristol Bears.
“Whether foundation Bears or with us from last season, all these men have committed themselves to the club and our vision on and off the field – we are extremely grateful for that.
'I actually had to retire over a Zoom call. I had all the boys, all the staff and there is me getting emotional'
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) April 26, 2020
“I believe all those that are moving on leave the programme as better players and better people through the time and commitment they put into their own growth, as well as to the team and the development of this club. They have all played their part and we wish them the very best for the future.
“Although the pandemic means we had to recognise our leavers online compared to what we would do in a normal season, everybody will be welcomed back to celebrate the part they played for Bristol Bears at the conclusion of the 2019/20 season.”
BRISTOL BEARS 2020/21 SQUAD (*denotes integrated academy)
Tighthead: John Afoa, Jake Armstrong, Kyle Sinckler;
Loosehead prop: Max Lahiff, Yann Thomas, Jake Woolmore, Andrew Turner*;
Hooker: Will Capon, Harry Thacker, George Kloska*;
Second row: Dave Attwood, John Hawkins, Ed Holmes, Joe Joyce, Chris Vui, Ben Bamber*, Alex Groves*;
Back row: James Dun, Mitch Eadie, Ben Earl, Jake Heenan, Nathan Hughes, Steven Luatua, Dan Thomas, Fitz Harding*.
Scrum-half: Chris Cook, Harry Randall, Andy Uren, Blake Boyland*;
Fly-half: Tiff Eden, Callum Sheedy, Ioan Lloyd*, Tom Wilstead*
Centre: Sam Bedlow, Piers O’Conor, Siale Piutau, Charlie Powell, Semi Radradra, Harry Ascherl*, Jack Bates*;
Back three: Toby Fricker, Alapati Leiua, Max Malins, Luke Morahan, Siva Naulago, Charles Piutau, Henry Purdy, Deago Bailey*, Freddie Owsley*
Bryan Byrne, Joe Batley Adrian Choat, Jordan Crane (retiring), Luke Daniels, Ollie Dawe, Ryan Edwards, Sam Graham, Luke Hamilton, Will Hurrell (retiring), James Lay, Jordan Lay, Tom Lindsay (retiring), Ian Madigan, Shaun Malton, Aly Muldowney (retiring) Mat Protheroe, Nic Stirzaker, Nicky Thomas, Lewis Thiede.
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