Following on from yesterday’s piece on the coaching team for the 2013/14 season we can now bring you up to date with the playing squad for the coming season. Director of Rugby Gareth Dyer commented “Again the theme was for continuity and we wanted to retain as much of our existing squad as possible with minimal turnover in players. I felt this would allow us to build on the progress of recent seasons but I was aware that we would see some changes to the squad. Overall I am happy that the core of the squad has been retained. We have a number of established players who I believe set the right example and ensure we create the correct environment to keep the club moving forward. Dominic Moon as captain is central to that but he is backed up by a number of players who have been part of the club for several seasons and know what is expected both on and off the field”.
Below is a list of the arrivals and departures confirmed to date. Work continues on a number of fronts and further announcements will be made when appropriate.
Gareth Gore (lock – joined Fylde)
Will Keenan (back row – joined Cinderford)
Tom Grimes (centre – joined Blaydon)
Mike Haley (centre – DR with Sale Sharks now ended)
Conor Murphy (back row – returned home having completed studies)
Josh Purnell (half back – returned home having completed studies)
Andy Pollock (wing – returns to Belfast Harlequins having completed studies)
Liam Launders (prop – Hawick)
Dyer wished to thank all of those players for their contribution to the club during their time at Lightfoot Green. “It is disappointing to have to say goodbye to any individuals when they decide to leave the club. All of the lads moving on have given their all during their time with us and we wish them well in the future. All the guys had their reasons for moving on and essentially these were out of our control. They will all be very welcome back at the club in the future”.
Dyer also reserved special mention for Mike Haley whose dual registration with Sale Sharks has now come to an end. “We are obviously delighted for Mike who we hope will go on to big things with Sale. Hopefully his experience of playing 1st XV rugby at his home club will have helped in his development and we look forward to supporting him with the Sharks. We are very proud of his achievements to date and we have every faith he will establish himself as a regular premiership player”.
Speaking on the new and returning faces Dyer said “We welcome a number of new faces to the club whilst we also have a number of returning players with the loan arrangements for Mustafa and Aikman having been made into permanent transfers. We have attracted some superb young talent to the club whilst a number of young players from our youth system have also been promoted into the senior squad”.
Talking about the new faces Dyer was confident that the squad would be stronger this time around. “Getting Mo and Craig on board on a permanent basis has been important. They both had a big influence last term and they are proven performers. Alan Holmes and I have been fans of Sam Wallbank for a while and having watched him regularly over the last 18 months and we were keen to get him into our squad. We think he has all the attributes needed to become a very good player at this level and he is at an age where he is ready to make the step up”.
Dyer was also happy to have the returning Mawdsley, Zavallis-Roebuck and Walker back in the ranks. “James, Zav and Jack are three good young players who I hope will be mainstays of the squad for years to come. They’ve all had a taste of rugby elsewhere but feel this is their club and it’s here where they can play their best rugby. They are three very committed lads with bags of potential”.
“We have again used our links with Myerscough College to bring in some promising younger players who we hope will add further competition for places. Conor, Ben, Will and Sam have all done well in pre-season and we have been keen to see them in match action. They have stood up well and now go into the selection mix”.
“I am delighted to have added Chris Taylor and Dave Perry. Chris has been playing in National 3 Midlands and having moved to the area he is keen to make an impression. He has done well in training so far and will offer a different type of back row option. Dave is a former UCLAN product who we have known about for a while. He is very fit and athletic and has the attributes to do well with us. Ryan has come over from New Zealand and is working in the area. He joined in with pre-season and looks like your typical Kiwi in that he has that innate rugby understanding whilst Andy has come over on Will Keenan’s recommendation from the Isle of Man. He is working hard in training and we will be working hard to develop his game”.
“We are still working on one or two things and I’m confident that a couple more things will come off but these might come after the season has started. That’s fine, it’s a long season and we will need a big squad of players if we are to continue to be competitive and build on our showings of the last couple of years”.
Sam Wallbank (lock/back row – Vale of Lune/Lancashire)
Mo Mustafa (prop/lock – Leeds Carnegie)
Craig Aikman (scrum half – Fylde)
James Mawdsley (hooker/prop – Stockport)
Alex Zavallis-Roebuck (fly half – Stockport)
Jack Walker (back row – Windermere RFC)
Dave Perry (lock – unattached)
Chris Taylor (back row – Newport (Salop))
Conor Trueman (wing – UWIC/Lancashire U20)
Ben Rhodes-Powers (wing – Myerscough College)
Will Lees (back row – Myerscough College)
Sam Kendall (centre – Whitchurch/Myercough College)
Ryan Marshall (full back – Christchurch NZ)
Andy Wilson (prop/back row – Ramsey IOM)