HAMBLY ANNOUNCES FIRST NEW SIGNINGS FOR THE REDS
By Bill Hooper, at the Recreation Ground
With the dust of the Cornish rugby season barely settled following Cornwall’s dramatic win in Sunday’s Bill Beaumont Cup Final, Director of Rugby Nigel Hambly has moved to add two further members from the Cornwall side to his playing squad.
Both Matt Shepherd and Fraser Honey have put pen to paper and agreed to join Redruth for next season from Plymouth Albion.
In addition, Hambly has also brought former Redruth favourite Chris Fuca back to the club as forwards coach for next season.
Speaking at the Recreation Ground on Tuesday evening Honey was looking forward to the challenge of playing for Redruth. He said. “I am delighted to have signed for Redruth, it’s a club I have followed for many years. I think I can bring something to the club and also improve my game with the quality of the coaches here; I have a huge amount of respect for Nigel, Chris and Matt.
Honey was really excited about the prospects for the new season as the pieces begin to fall in place. “The support here at Redruth is the best in the league, I’ve played here for Launceston and Bury St Edmunds as well as the various county age groups, so I know many of the lads already here from those days and of course with the wonderful month we have just had with the Cornwall squad, I’ve played with Jack Oulton when I was at Launceston and he was on loan and I think we have proved that we form an exciting half-back partnership.
Matt Shepherd returns to the club in a player/coach role and is equally enthusiastic about the prospects for the new season. He said. “I feel that this is the right move for me now at this stage of my rugby career, I am really looking forward to working with both Fucs and Nigel, I’ve heard a few stories about Nigel he’s a legend here and huge respect for what he did to get Redruth playing in National 1. I think having both of them here will attract a number of players to the club.
Not only will Shepherd bring a wealth of experience to the side but he is also looking forward to helping develop the young talent that came through the club last season. “There are a lot of really good young players at the club, boys like Jack Simmons, Aaron Simmonds, Jack Hodge and I really am looking forward to helping them develop to the next stage of their rugby careers.
Returning to the club having cut his coaching teeth at St. Ives Chris Fuca is thrilled to be back at the club he calls home. “I am delighted to be back, I spoke with Nigel earlier in the year but I wanted to honour my commitments at St. Ives for last season before agreeing anything. I am really looking forward to my role as forwards coach. I shall be purely coaching to start with but I might have a run out if I am fit enough at some stage.
“I think the player signings that we have announced tonight shows real intent from the club that we need to improve on last season’s results, and I think the work going on at the club both and off the park shows that the club want to push on and make a statement this season. Both Fraser and Matt are hugely respected by the other players and they can only help improve the playing standards at the club.
Fuca is keen to get the Redruth edge upfront back. “Maybe last season our scrum wasn’t quite the potent weapon it’s been in previous seasons, so no question that is something I shall be working on. Fitness has a big role to play so there will be a lot of fitness work pre-season and work on our plays going into the new season. We will bring in some expertise for various areas like strength and conditioning and make sure everything is done in properly planned way.
Director of Rugby was pleased with his first signings for the new season. “I am really pleased to having both Matt and Fraser joining the club for next season and to have Chris back here in a new role for him. Fucs is an icon here and I think he has a very bright future in a coaching role, I think he will relish the challenge of coaching at this level.
As for Matt,I am delighted to see him back at Redruth. I had spoken with one or two other potential candidates but it didn’t work out, Marek Churcher suggested I approach Matt and he was immediately very receptive to what I had in mind. Matt’s proven quality and hugely respected as player and I think he has lot to offer in a coaching role here. When I approached Matt about the role he told me he still wanted to play, for me that was the best response to hear from him, he will bring his huge experience to the squad.
As for Fraser, I’ll be honest I haven’t seen a lot of him playing, but from what I have seen he is very good and reads the game intelligently, kicks the ball well and puts you in good areas on the field, his success rate kicking for goal is high so all in all a quality player with proven ability in National 1.”
Hambly also confirmed that Chris Allen would take up the Team Manager’s role for next season and said that plans for the second team next season were progressing as well as the colts set up for next season under Steve Larkins.