Plymouth Albion / Rugby

Cornwall’s Billy Searle and Robin Wedlake complete moves to Plymouth Albion

PLYMOUTH Albion’s director of rugby Graham Dawe has signed two more of Cornwall’s victorious County Championship squad.

As expected young backs Billy Searle and Robin Wedlake have penned deals at Brickfields.

Utility back Searle, 19, joins from Launceston, whose director of rugby Neil Bayliss resigned on Monday night, while winger Wedlake, 20, arrives from Redruth.

The duo, like fellow summer signings Christian Judge, Jon Dawe and Matt Shepherd, impressed Dawe with their performances for Cornwall.

Searle’s move is no surprise. Sports Gazette first reported he was likely to move to Brickfields after Cornwall’s first County Championship win over Gloucestershire at the start of May.

He played full-back for the Duchy, but Dawe believes the teenager, who is an impressive goal-kicker, can challenge for the fly-half jersey at Albion, despite only one season of senior rugby behind him.

“He is a fly-half first and foremost,” said Dawe, who combines his role at Albion with being Cornwall’s head coach. “But he has the ability to play full-back as well. However, fly-half is the position I would like him to be challenging for.

“He is only young but he’s a very talented individual. His passing and kicking game come very natural. Hopefully, he can make his mark at this level.”

Devon-born Searle, also a talented cricketer, made 17 starts and five replacement appearances for Launceston last season. He also played for Exeter College, who recommended him to Albion.

Searle, who is hoping to study at the University of St Mark and St John, said: “To be given the opportunity to become a professional rugby player is the natural next step for me.

“I got on well with Graham Dawe when I was playing for Cornwall and I’m confident I have the ability to play National One rugby.”

Wedlake is another youngster with only one full season behind him. But like with fellow inexperienced young signings like Searle, Jon Dawe, Judge, Dean Brooker and Dan Pullinger, Dawe believes there is great potential to develop.

“He’s got really good feet and he is a finisher,” said Dawe. “But more importantly he wants to improve.”

Wedlake said: “I see the move to Plymouth Albion as a great opportunity to further my career in rugby.”

Searle and Wedlake are unlikely to the last Cornwall players to move to Brickfields. Sports Gazette understands that at least two more of this year’s Twickenham squad will arrive within the next week.

Meanwhile, National Two South side Redruth have confirmed the signing of former Albion hooker Tom Cowan-Dickie. The former Exeter Chiefs player left Brickfields in April.

Felllow forward Sam Matavesi will start the season at Camborne. The Fijian international, who can play hooker or flanker, will also coach Veor.

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