Bristol Bears have confirmed the retained squad list from July 1st, 2021, with over 65% of the players in the first team squad now heading into at least their fourth season under Pat Lam.
Tom Whiteley, Sam Jeffries and Antoine Frisch are the new additions, while six players will depart as the Bears retain a large majority of their squad.
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. Homegrown front rower George Kloska will be transitioning from hooker into a loosehead prop.
Tongan legend and long-term Bears’ servant, Siale Piutau will depart at the conclusion of the 2020/21 campaign, after five seasons at the club.
Loanees Ben Earl and Max Malins return to parent club Saracens. Prop Peter McCabe also departs, alongside scrum half Tom Kessell (Cornish Pirates) and Argentinian international Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, who will join Italian side, Benetton. Meanwhile, triallists Stephen Kerins (Ealing Trailfinders) and Tagdh McElroy are set to depart in the summer.
Alasdair Dickinson leaves the coaching staff for Glasgow Warriors, with John Afoa taking on a dual transition role as scrum coach and first team player.
Director of Rugby, Pat Lam, said: “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 [Malins] and Ben [Earl] 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.
“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.”