Bury St Edmunds Rugby Club bolster ranks ahead of new season with arrival of 14 players
There will be a fresh look to the Bury St Edmunds squad that competes in National League 2 East next season.
It has been a busy summer for the club’s head coach and director of rugby Jacob Ford, who revealed in April that six members of his 2022/23 side would be moving on to pastures new.
And he has responded by adding a total of 14 new players, all whom are now bedding themselves in ahead of the season opener at home against Old Albanians on September 2.
Ford said: “We lost six players and so we knew that they would need replacing, but we were also keen to add some extra depth to the squad as well.
“The first thing I would say is that recruitment at this level is difficult. I’ve probably had 80 conversations since Christmas and we’ve managed to land 14 of those.
“We worked hard early on. Teams are competing for the same players so the process started early in the new year.
“There are all sorts of reasons why we’ve gone for the players we’ve got. We wanted players that would suit the style of rugby we’re looking to play obviously, but also ones that could get about the park, win collisions and things like that.”
Cameron Signorini (second row) and Harry Barker (winger) have both arrived from Australia, having most recently been turning out for West Harbour Rugby Club and GPS Rugby Club respectively.
Versatile back rower Brayden Porteous recently made his 50th appearance for New Zealand outfit United Matamata Sports, while closer to home Tyler Russell (second row) and Tom Wand (front row) have come through the ranks with Leicester Tigers Under-18s.
The other additions are: Shaun Spriddle (Wymondham, prop), Joe Collier (Durham University, scrum half), Ben Leng (former Bury player, inside centre), Callum Hall (university, fly half), Rhodri Parry (Chester, front row), Adam Harwood Hughes (stepping up from Bury U18s, hooker), Mathew Bowden (Stade Aurillac, hooker), George Loose (North Walsham, outside centre) and Harry Steward (North Walsham, back three).
With a squad of 35 players to now select from, Ford has conceded that he will have plenty of selection quandaries over the weeks and months to come – although it is a positive situation to be in.
He added: “We’ve got 35 players and only 20 can be in a squad on match days so there is going to be some unhappy players.
“I will be very competitive and all of the positions are going to be up for grabs.
“I’m going to have a lot of headaches and it’s going to be a difficult selection process each weekend but ultimately it’s a positive to have so many good options to pick from.
“We’ve got some good depth now and its in the hands of the players.
“They will steer the selection with their performances in training and matches.”
Bury are now well into their pre-season programme, with their first friendly against Blackheath scheduled for August 12 at the GK IPA Haberden.
“We’ve ramped things up in the last week and we’ve got some tough friendlies,” said Ford.
“All of the players will get plenty of minutes and the standard of the opposition will help us to hit the ground running at the start of the season.”