Veteran hooker Olivier Azam released by Gloucester

Olivier Azam
Azam has spent 10 seasons with the Cherry and Whites

Gloucester will not be renewing the contracts of front-row duo Olivier Azam and Pierre Capdevielle for next season.

Hooker Azam, 36, has played 239 games across two spells at Kingsholm while prop Capdevielle, 37, has made 46 appearances since his arrival 2009.

"Times do move on and that's the way the club's going," head coach Bryan Redpath told BBC Gloucestershire.

"It's the opportunity for us all to try and re-invent now and start again and build over the next two seasons."

The club have already confirmed that Dave Attwood (Bath), Alasdair Dickinson (Sale Sharks), Paul Doran-Jones (Northampton), Jordi Pasqualin (Newcastle Falcons) and Nicky Robinson (Wasps) will be moving on next season.

Capdevielle came to Gloucester after spells with Perigueux and Brieve.

Former France international Azam first joined Gloucester in the 2000/01 season but left to play for Montferrand three years later.

He returned the following season and became a firm favourite amongst the Kingsholm supporters and won the fans' player of the year award in 2008/09.

But his time at the club was not without controversy. He served a 12-week suspension in 2009 for kicking Saracens captain Steve Borthwick and, in the same year, was handed a nine-week ban for eye gouging.

In April, he was banned for four weeks for headbutting Northampton's Adam Eustace, meaning he missed Gloucester's Premiership play-off campaign, which ended on Sunday in a semi-final defeat by Saracens.

Gloucester managing director Ken Nottage paid tribute to Azam on the club's website:external-link "A tireless and fearsome competitor, he is now written into Gloucester rugby folklore and, outside of rugby, is now well and truly part of the local community as a successful restaurateur.

"Olivier's loyalty to the club is a breath of fresh air and he has quite rightly gone on to become a legend with the Gloucester supporters.

"On behalf of everyone at Gloucester, I would like to thank him for his contribution and wish him all the very best for the future."

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