Aussie rules convert Kurt Heatherley, ex-Brumbies scrum-half Michael Dowsett and Namibian World Cup utility back Lesley Klim are among the seven latest signings confirmed by Harvey Biljon at Jersey for the 2020/21 Championship season, bringing to 15 the number of new additions announced by the second-tier English club this week.
Eight forwards were unveiled earlier this week, new pack coach Rob Webber, the ex-England and Sale hooker, influential in bringing hooker George Edgson (Doncaster), props Ollie Dawe (Bristol), Jack Higgins (Plymouth) and Ciaran Parker (Munster), locks Zak Farrance (Oyonnax), Shay Kerry (Ampthill) and Sean O’Connor (Munster) along with back row Lewis Wynne (London Scottish) to the club.
Now director of rugby Biljon has added seven backs to list of Jersey newcomers with the hope of improving the potency of a side that finished sixth last season, the Reds winning six of their 14 matches before the Championship campaign was cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Twenty-eight-year-old Dowsett arrives as an experienced No9 having made 22 Super Rugby appearances for the Brumbies across three seasons before switching to Worcester in 2016 and spending the last two years in Japan with Canon Eagles.
James Elliott is a 21-year-old who gained Championship exposure last season at Yorkshire Carnegie while Sam Leeming is a 22-year-old out-half who was recently at Bedford.
— Jersey Reds (@jerseyrfc) June 13, 2020
Further across the backline, Jersey have recruited Klim, Jack Roberts, Ryan Hutler and Heatherley. Klim, a 25-year-old who was at Ospreys, made appearances at the 2019 World Cup in Japan. Roberts is a 28-year-old Welshman who spent three years at Leicester before stints at Cardiff Blues and Doncaster Knights.
Twenty-two-year-old Hutler has signed from Bedford while New Zealand-born Heatherley forged a professional career in Australian rules with Hawthorn in Melbourne before switching codes and playing rugby in last year’s Mitre Cup with Auckland.
Jersey boss Biljon told the club website: “Michael is a really great acquisition for the club who brings a lot of experience, but still has a great deal to offer. Sam has impressed me when we have played Hartpury and Bedford in recent seasons, while James is at an early stage of his career but I believe has the skill set and attitude to grow as a player at this level.
“Lesley and Jack are both experienced players who have the potential to become key parts of our squad – supporters will be excited to see them in action, as well as Kurt’s aerial skills and Ryan’s proven ability as a try-scorer.”
“I hope we all get some external help because I would hate… it would be disastrous for the game if we lost clubs" @CoventryRugby boss @njperformanceuk fears the worst – writes @heagneyl ???https://t.co/W0CU4euLRu
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) March 29, 2020
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