Aaron Thompson, Ewan Davies and Samir Kharbouch joining Bury St Edmunds from Darlington Mowden Park, Jersey Reds and Henley Hawks
A product of Exeter Chiefs’ academy and a player with Scottish Super 6 experience with champions Ayrshire Bulls are among three more signings made by Bury St Edmunds.
Head coach Nick Wakley’s hopes of securing promotion from National League 2 South in the upcoming campaign are set to be boosted by the additions of centre Samir Kharbouch, 26, hooker Aaron Thompson, 22, and 21-year-old prop Ewan Davies.
It takes the total number of new additions at the GK IPA Haberden to 11, meaning there is set to be plenty of healthy competition for places during the upcoming season.
But Wakley said the latest three, most recently playing with Championship Jersey Reds (Davies), National League 1 Darlington Mowden Park (Thompson) and divisional rivals Henley Hawks (Kharbouch), are far more than just about filling out their squad.
“They have all come from real good rugby stock and have experienced winning coaches and are all hungry to come here and play,” said Wakley.
“They are quite different positions but all quite similar scenarios.
“I believe they are three players that are all in it to win starting jerseys and mix it up.”
Former professional Ben Cooper was instrumental in the recruitment of the youngest of the trio, 21-year-old prop Davies, who Wakley believes can develop into a top player.
“Ewan is a very exciting player for us to get involved,” he said.
“We have really shored up our set piece but we want to take it to the next level and to have someone like Ewan can do that.
“I think he was very aware of the benefit of learning from Ben Cooper and the other old heads we now have in that front row.”
He added: “We want a very strong Wolfpack and with his experience at Jersery and the Scottish top tier of domestic rugby (Ayshire Bulls) he is coming in with experience and hunger as well, which is hopefully going to mix things up."
Thompson is described as a ‘hooker back-row hybrid’ who was in Premiership giants Exter Chiefs’ academy before moving up to Darlington and has also had a spell with Spanish top division club Ciencias Sevilla CR.
“Again he is a player with some good experience but is still young and hungry and we have got an exciting player,” said Wakley.
Kharbouch is someone well known to the Bury head coach, having worked with the centre
in sevens - both with and against Samurai.
“Samir is one we have had our eyes on for a while to be honest,” he said.
“He is a very strong centre with lots of potential. He is an honest, hard working bloke.
“He has been playing for Henley for a number of years. I caught up with him before and after games and there was an opportunity to give him a fresh challenge and we grabbed at it.”
Some of the new signings are set to make their first trip down to the club this weekend as the club oversees some fitness testing in small groups, in line with RFU guidelines.
“Now there is a bit more freedom and we have some more clarity on what we can and can’t do at the club we are reaching out to do some testing this weekend in some small groups,” said Wakley.
“And that will hopefully roll us into some skills sessions in some small groups and we are on the cusp of hopefully getting some more rugby under our belt.”
Bury St Edmunds held their Prom-Am Player Awards for the coronavirus-halted 2019/20 campaign via an online video (below).
The winners were as follows:
- Wolfpack Development Most Improved Player: George Ash;
- Wolfpack Development Player of The Year: Tommy Waldock;
- Wolfpack Most Improved Player: George Greg-Pettittt;
- Coaches Player of The Year: Alex Leo;
- MVP of the Season: Ben Leng;
- Players’ Player of The Season: Dan Walsh.