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Bristol Post
Bristol Post
John Evely

Pat Lam provides the definitive answer to Semi Radradra and Charles Piutau’s Bristol Bears future

Pat Lam has shot down speculation that Bristol Bears’ marquee players Semi Radradra and Charles Piutau could leave the club at the end of the season.

For the second successive week, The Rugby Paper reported that Fijian international captain Radradra - who scored a world-class 40m solo try against Sale Sharks on Saturday to hand Bristol Bears a 10-9 lead going into the second leg of the Heineken Champions Cup last 16 knockout rounds - is attracting interest from overseas with Toulon reported to have joined his former club Bordeaux Begles in being interested in adding the 29-year-old to their roster next season.

READ MORE: ‘He hasn’t been firing on all cylinders’ - Semi Radradra has reminded everyone of what he can do says Lam

Meanwhile, with the Gallagher Premiership salary gap reducing further next season with marque players, whose wages count outside of the £5m salary cap, going down from two to one, there has been plenty of speculation that former All Black full-back Charles Piutau could also be leaving BS3 with a move to join his brother Siale playing in Japan muted.

However, Bristol director of rugby Pat Lam essentially put an end to the rumors today.

He said: “There is no decision to be made on their future.

“The boys are on contract next year, both of them.

“There is no decision to be made, they are here next year.

“There is speculation from everyone outside but ultimately both boys are on contract.”

A spokesman for Premiership Rugby confirmed that while marquee players are being reduced from two to one next season if they were under contract and designated as an 'excluded player' at the time the new regulations came into place in June 2020, then a club can continue to have two players whose wages fall outside of the cap during the 2022/23 season.

Once those contracts have expired, a club - Bristol in this situation - would only be able to have one marquee player moving forward.

In effect, it means Bristol are incentivized to keep Piutau and Radradra for as long as possible under their current contracts to gain the maximum on-field advantage, as long as Lam believes both men continue to represent good value for money.

Following a sickness in the Bristol camp last week, Radradra and Piutau both started on the bench at the AJ Bell Stadium on Saturday but were introduced early in the second half to ensure the Bears finished the stronger of the two sides, which they did.

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