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Bristol confirm recruitment of two ex-Wasps players for next season

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Bob Bradford/CameraSport via Getty Images)

Bristol have bolstered their roster for next season, confirming the signings on Thursday of ex-Wasps duo Gabriel Oghre from Bordeaux and Sam Wolstenholme from Leicester. The respective hooker and scrum-half were victims of the financial collapse that resulted in 167 Wasps players and staff being made redundant last October.

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Both found refuge at the Tigers. Oghre made three appearances before taking up a short-term option in the Top 14 while January arrival Wolstenholme is poised to make his Leicester debut off their bench in Friday night’s Heineken Champions Cup round-of-16 clash with Edinburgh.

A statement read: “Dynamic hooker Gabriel Oghre will join Bristol Bears ahead of the 2023/24 campaign, the club can confirm. The 24-year-old, who made 66 appearances for Wasps before joining Leicester Tigers and then Bordeaux-Begles on short-term deals, will head to Ashton Gate next season.

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“Oghre made his Premiership debut in 2018/19 off the bench against Saracens and soon made the step up to the Wasps’ first-team squad for the 2019/20 season. In January 2018 he was named in the England U20s squad for the 2017/18 season.

“Scrum-half Sam Wolstenholme will also join Bristol. The 23-year-old former Wasps number nine, who joined Leicester on a short-term deal in January, has made 32 appearances in the Gallagher Premiership. Wolstenholme attended Oakham School before furthering his studies at Loughborough University, while still a member of the Yorkshire academy, and spent time on loan with Hull Ioanians while playing for Carnegie.”

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Bristol director of rugby Pat Lam said: “Gabriel is a very talented young English hooker who has a strong desire to succeed. He has good experience of playing in the Premiership and more recently, the Top 14. With his dynamic style, with and without the ball, and the way he plays the game, I know he will add real value to the Bears on and off the field.

“I’m also really pleased to be able to bring someone of Sam’s quality and experience to the Bears. As another young English player with huge ambition and desire to succeed, he will fit into our group perfectly. Competition is vital within the squad for us to grow and I believe we have genuine competition at scrum-half for next season with Sam, Harry Randall, Kieran Marmion and Oscar Lennon all competing.”

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Oghre added: “Joining the Bears is a new challenge and one that I’m really excited for. It’s a club with big aspirations and with a range of youth and experience to help reach them. I’m grateful for the opportunity and can’t wait to be a part of it.”

Wolstenholme said: “I’m really looking forward to joining Bristol. They are a club with exciting players, great facilities and play a good brand of rugby. I’m excited to see what next season brings.”

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