Bristol have made two new signings prior to their first season under their new coach, Peter Thornburn.
Peter Richards, the former England A scrum-half, is moving from the Italian side Benetton Treviso while the Wales Under-21 second row Scott Morgan is returning after a season with Llanelli.
Richards, 24, had two seasons at London Irish and three with Harlequins before that. He has represented England at every level from Under-16 through to England A and went on the England tour in 1998 to Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
After the departure of the Scotland A scrum-half Ross Blake to neighbours Bath yesterday, Richards will be deputy to the Argentina international scrum-half and captain Agustin Pichot. The Argentinian has had very little time away from rugby over the past two years and the Pumas have Tests against Australia, Italy and Ireland in November before the start of the World Cup in October next year.
"I'm delighted to be joining Bristol Shoguns," Richards said. "I was looking for a change from Italy and the English Premiership is a higher standard and will give me a bigger challenge."
Morgan, 23, first joined Bristol in the summer of 1997 and became a first-team regular during the 1999-2000 season making 28 appearances as Bristol finished sixth in the Premiership. "It seems only five minutes ago that I was at Bristol," he said. "The Memorial Stadium is a great place to play and the fans really get behind you and generate a superb atmosphere."
Morgan has agreed a three-year contract and Richards a two-year one while the No 8 Ben Sturnham and the openside flanker Michael Lipman have agreed new two-year deals, with the wing Brendon Daniel signing a new 12-month contract.
Thornburn confirmed they are still in negotiations for a centre, widely tipped to be the All Black Daryl Gibson, who would be unlikely to arrive before the start of the season.
Mike Catt, 31, the England international, has signed a one-year extension to his Bath contract, committing himself to the club until at least 2004.
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