Pontypool RFC is pleased to announce that the club has signed 10 new squad members ahead of the new Swalec Championship season kicking off on Saturday.
Joe Bajjada, Nathan Brooks, Elliot Ferriman, James Hall, Garin Harris, Steffan Oszlanski, Luke Simms, Ben Snell, Jamie Tibbs and Rhodri Usher join Tom Hancock, Jamie Jeune and Rob Nash as the new members that complete the Pooler squad for the forthcoming season.
“We are fortunate to have signed such a strong group of young and talented players who will develop with us during the course of this season,” said Pontypool RFC Director of Rugby, Alun Carter.
“Each player has trained throughout the summer and has added to the environment we are creating at the club.
“These new signings have all impressed during the pre season matches we have played and will get further opportunities to make their mark on the club once the season commences.”
Harris, 19, joins Pooler as a Newport Gwent Dragons Under 16s member, having most recently served for Pontypool United RFC. With the ability to play as hooker or prop, he made a tremendous impact in the second half of the pre season friendly against Carmarthen Quins RFC.
On playing for Pooler, Harris said: “Being a local boy, it has been an ambition to wear the Pontypool RFC jersey knowing the history it has behind it. I am really looking forward to the season ahead with a good group of boys and maintaining the name that Pontypool RFC has.”
Ferriman, 20, and Simms, 23, arrive at Pooler from Caldicot RFC and Newport HSOB RFC, respectively. Both have excelled in the lock position since training at the club and will play a key role in this position throughout the season.
Simms, who also spent time as a Newport Gwent Dragons Under 18s squad member, spoke of his delight at joining the club: “I am very happy to join Pontypool RFC to further develop my playing career, by playing in a high standard league. I look to bring a professional attitude to my time in the Championship division.”
Hall and Snell, both 18, join the Pooler squad having featured for Caldicot RFC and the Newport Gwent Dragons Academy, respectively, last season. Hall is one of three arrivals from Caldicot RFC that has continued to impress in the scrum half position throughout pre season preparations, whereas Snell has demonstrated tremendous fitness and ability as an outside centre.
Serving Pooler primarily on the wing will be Brooks, 21, Oszlanski, who turns 19 next week, and Usher, 19, who arrive from Bonymaen RFC, Newport Gwent Dragons Academy and Blackwood RFC, respectively.
Brooks, who already in his young career has quite the resume - including stints with the Ospreys’ Under 16s, Under 18s and Academy teams, in addition to representing the Welsh National team at Under 16s level – has been impressed with his time at the club thus far.
“I was encouraged to attend pre season training, and after several sessions and speaking to other players and coaches, I could see that the club is ambitious to regain Premiership Division status. I am very much looking forward to playing my part in delivering on the club’s ambition.”
Strengthening the club in the full back position is former Pontypool United RFC standout, Bajjada, 25, and Tibbs, 24, who completes the trio of players arriving at Pooler from Caldicot RFC this season.
An experienced full back, Bajjada, has proven to be an enthusiastic trainer that is excited by the prospect of connecting with his fellow squad members.
“I am delighted to have joined a club with such a massive history and such huge potential to get back into the Premiership Division. I am very excited to be part of the squad who will all be looking to challenge for this.”
Tibbs was discovered when representing Pooler in the Lesotho 7’s rugby tournament in May, where the club were victorious against Blackwood RFC to claim the bowl trophy.
Pooler recently completed its pre season preparations following a successful series of fixtures against Rhiwbina RFC, Pill Harriers RFC, Pontypool United RFC, Carmarthen Quins RFC and Nelson RFC. The tour included four convincing victories for Pooler and a very close encounter against solid Premiership Division opposition.
Pooler kick starts their 2014/2015 Swalec Championship season with an away trip to Bargoed RFC at 2.30pm on Saturday. Supporters can keep track of all the action through the club’s official Facebook and Twitter feeds.