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Eight players to leave Bristol and a promising hooker will transition into a prop

By Liam Heagney

Trending on RugbyPass

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Gallagher Premiership table-toppers Bristol have confirmed the names of the six full-time players and two triallists that will be leaving at the end of this season. The Bears farewelled the leavers following their captain’s run on Friday, but the planned farewell in front of fans on Saturday was denied as the final match of the regulation season against London Irish before the playoffs was cancelled. 

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It emerged last Monday that the long-serving Siale Piutau, the Tongan legend who reflected on his impressive career in a recent in-depth RugbyPass interview, will exit after four-and-a-half seasons at the club. 

Loanees Ben Earl and Max Malins will return to parent club Saracens. Peter McCabe will also depart, as will Cornish Pirates signing Tom Kessell and Argentinian international Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, who will join Italian side Benetton. 

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Meanwhile, triallists Stephen Kerins (Ealing Trailfinders) and Tagdh McElroy, the ex-Saracens academy hooker, will also exit in the summer. On the staff, Alasdair Dickinson leaves for Glasgow Warriors with John Afoa taking on a dual transition role as scrum coach and first-team player.

Bristol boss Pat Lam told the Premiership club’s website: “We are grateful to all of our departing players and staff for their contribution to the Bears. They can always look back fondly and know that they contributed to our journey and the team growth.

“All of these guys have played their part and for somebody like Siale, who is a foundation Bear, he leaves in the knowledge that he has helped shaped the Bears culture for years to come. It’s been a real pleasure to have Max and Ben involved with the Bears. It’s a credit to them as people and players that they have fully invested their time and energy to us to be successful. We’d like to thank Mark (McCall) and Saracens for making it possible.

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“When I arrived, one of the clear objectives was to change the make-up of the squad – younger demographic, more English and academy players and quality depth in every position. We are continuing to strive towards that and I’m delighted that the large majority of the group will be in at least their fourth and fifth season with myself and the management team.”

As regards new signings for next season, Tom Whiteley, Sam Jeffries and Antoine Frisch are new additions. Scrum-half Whiteley arrives from Saracens, while centre Frisch joins from Rouen in the French Pro D2. Jeffries returns to the playing squad after two years away from the game. Meanwhile, homegrown front-rower George Kloska, the 21-year-old who made his first Premiership start on New Year’s Day against Newcastle, will be transitioning from a hooker into a loosehead prop.

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Eight players to leave Bristol and a promising hooker will transition into a prop

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