Bristol: Aironi lock George Biagi signs as 14 depart

Bristol have released 14 players from their squad, including prop Mark Irish and number eight Dan Montagu.

Both Montagu, 28, and Irish, 30, depart the Memorial Stadium despite signing terms for next season's Championship campaign back in April.

Also among the players released are Sean Marsden and Darren Crompton, who have both accepted coaching positions at Hartpury College.

Meanwhile, lock George Biagi has signed for next season from Aironi.

Dan Montagu

"Dan's a good Championship player...but I felt it was the right decision in terms of progressing to where we want to be."

Liam Middleton on Dan Montagu's departure

Scotland-born Biagi, 26, made 25 appearances for the RaboDirect PRO12 outfit last term including two outings during their Heineken Cup campaign.

"I've been really impressed with him throughout the year," coach Liam Middleton told BBC Radio Bristol.

"He really sticks out to me as a guy who can fit in to the way that we play. His potential is largely untapped and there's more we can get out of him."

Speaking about Montagu's exit after three seasons with Bristol, Middleton added: "Dan's a good player and has served the club well.

"But we're and evolving team and an evolving squad and I just felt we needed to progress that position.

"Dan's a good Championship player and he'll do doubt play against us in the future but I felt it was the right decision in terms of progressing to where we want to be."

Bristol players released: Louis Silver (Doncaster Knights), Jason Harris-Wright (Connacht), Darren Barry, Dan Montagu, Mark Irish, Jake Caulfield, Matty James (Nevers Rugby), Henry Vanderglas (Grenoble), Mark Davies, Sean Marsden (Hartpury College), Darren Crompton (Hartpury College), Josh Ovens (returns to Bath), James Letherby, Will Helu.