Bury St Edmunds Rugby Club say farewell to Southern Hemisphere players
- Credit: Archant
Ambitious Bury St Edmunds Rugby Club are preparing for promotion after their successful debut season at national level.
The Suffolk club finished seventh in National League Three London & South East, taking the step up in class in their stride as regular four-figure crowds at the Haberden showed there is a real thirst for top level rugby in this region.
Expectations have risen massively as a result and already a major summer of rebuilding is underway as director of rugby Terry Sands, chairman Mike Robinson and head coach Gavin Hogg dare to dream of taking another step up the pyramid.
“We know what we are capable at this level of now, we know what support we’re going to get, so a top three finish and promotion has to be our aim next season,” said Sands.
“We’ve had a few Southern Hemisphere players in recent years, but they would not be able to play at the next level (National League Two South). So with that in mind we are phasing out those players and replacing them with English and European qualified players.”
Hooker Ben Radmall, scrum-half David Ormrod, full-back Casey Stone, versatile back Logan Dodds and second row Codey Gray, all of whom hail from Australia or New Zealand, have departed, as have Jamie Cook (Hartpury College), Charlie Pask (starting university) and Oskar Lechnar (end of exchange programme from Sweden).
They have been replaced by full-back Tom Rock (experienced former London Welsh professional), Tiploma Kivalu (6ft 2in tight-head prop, Tonga-born, English registered), Platon Moisiadis (lightening quick winger/full-back, Greek international), Dan Smart (scrum-half from Glasgow Hawks academy), Sergi Lzaguerri (6ft 4in second row, Spanish Under-21 international), Ashleigh Stevenson-Leigh (second row, Northumbria University, young coach who has been at Antwerp in Belgium) and Tom Armstrong (centre from Bridgend, Wales).
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“The squad is not complete yet,” said Sands. “We need a squad of around 30 players and are probably five short of that at the moment. I’m hoping to sign another two or three experienced players before pre-season and hopefully we can attract a few ambitious local players too.
“We lost three or four games by just six or seven points last season. Now we’ll have one or two older heads in the side that will make the difference at key moments, plus we have beefed up the second row. I’m excited about what we can achieve next season.”