Which Cornwall RFU affiliated club has signed a Heineken Cup and Premiership winner for the new season? The answer, perhaps surprisingly, London 2 SW side London Cornish!
Cornish, who currently play at the same level as Cornish clubs in Tribute Western Counties West, but who have plans to go further up the leagues, pulled off the coup by signing former Samoan International flanker and World Cup player Dan Leo.
Photo: Dan Leo in action for Cornish against Twickenham
Leo, who apart from Wasps, with whom he got his European and Premiership winners medals in 2007, has also played for London Irish and London Welsh as well as Queensland Reds plus Top 14 sides Perpignan and Bordeaux-Bègles, whilst with Samoa he has gained 39 caps.
He recently founded Pacific Rugby Players Welfare and works for the PRA in their Cultural Diversity Program within the Premiership to assist players from the Pacific Islands settling in the UK and Europe.
Understandably, Director of Rugby of Rugby Dickon Moon is delighted to have landed such a marquee signing: “I am delighted to have managed to get Dan to sign for us this season. He’s is going to bring huge experience to our squad.”
Leo is not the only big name signing that Moon has landed this summer: former Northampton Saints and England 7s player David Smith has also signed for London Cornish, as the club hopes to go one better than the past two seasons and finally clinch promotion to London 1 South.
“Losing in play-offs in the past two seasons has been deeply frustrating for everyone at the club. This season we want to avoid all that and win the league outright to earn promotion and hopefully with the squad we are assembling we will be able to achieve that aim.”
Photo: Dickon Moon seeks to go one better this season
Pre-season has certainly gone well with Barking, Ealing Amateurs and Hammersmith & Fulham all defeated. Not that long ago, Barking were in the same league as Redruth and the Cornish All Blacks!
Despite the high profile signings Moon is keen to retain the local link and is equally delighted that many from Cornwall heading to London turn to the exiles for their rugby.
“We seem to pick up many from North Cornwall and this year it’s no different as former Bude lock James LeBroy has joined. We’ve also picked up a couple of backs from Exeter University, George Kimmins and Miles Rushworth, whilst former Bath Academy hooker Jake Slade has signed for us along with former Old Redcliffian Rich Stephens, David Funston, a centre from the Derry club and Ed Price from the Civil Service.
Off the field London Cornish have also been busy with improvements made at their Richardson Evans Memorial Ground pitch, a new post-match functions area at Roehampton Cricket Club and the use of much improved training facilities at Rosslyn Park.
In their opening game of the season London Cornish got off to a winning start, defeating Twickenham 19-14.