Ian Grieve and Redford Pennycock among players released by Bristol
Last Updated: 06/06/14 1:57pm
Championship club Bristol have announced the departure of 21 players.
Bristol missed out on promotion to the Aviva Premiership this week when they were beaten by London Welsh in the two-legged play-off.
But the club insists all the players would have left even had they gone up to the top flight.
Long-serving flankers Ian Grieve and Redford Pennycook, England U20 captain Callum Braley, centre Bryan Rennie, wing Sammy Speight, prop Bruce Douglas and No 15 Adam D’Arcy are all leaving.
Some of the departures had previously been known, with James Merriman, James Grindal, and Mariano Sambucetti all retiring, and other players moving to other clubs.
Cardiff Blues have signed George Watkins and Adam Hughes is joining Exeter. Ruki Tipuna will play for Newcastle and fly-half Tristan Roberts has been snapped up by London Welsh. Hooker Ollie Hayes is joining Championship rivals Leeds, while Stuart McInally has returned to parent club Edinburgh after his loan spell.
Fautua Otto, Steve Uren, Will Davis, Errie Claassens and Rupert Freestone are also leaving the club.
The departure of Braley is likely to spark a battle for his signature amongst Premiership clubs, with Gloucester reportedly interested.
Grieve, who appeared 126 times for Bristol in a nine-year first-team career, told the club's official website: “I’ve had an incredible time at Bristol Rugby and would like to thank the supporters, coaching staff and team-mates for the backing they have shown me over the years.
“It’s been an honour to captain this great club and I have always given 100 per cent every time I have pulled on the jersey. I hold many happy memories of my time here and wish Bristol all the best for the future.”
Bristol boss Andy Robinson have already been re-shaping their squad for next season, with some experienced players coming in. Flying wing David Lemi returns to the club from Worcester and former Wales scrum-half Dwayne Peel is joining from Sale.
Bath’s Anthony Perenise and Scotland flanker Ross Rennie have also signed deals.