TWO more Launceston players have opted to leave Polson Bridge and sign for Plymouth Albion.
As expected, back-row forwards Andy Chesters and Chris Courtier have followed Jake Murphy, Matt Shepherd, Jon Dawe, Christian Judge and Billy Searle to Brickfields.
The pair officially signed for Graham Dawe’s National One side this week, along with lock Dan Collier, who has returned to Albion after a three-year absence.
Courtier has been training with Plymouth since the end of June. It is the second summer running he has done so. Last year he even made the club’s team picture but did not end up signing.
After bringing in a host of backs over the last few weeks, Albion’s director of rugby Dawe is delighted to be now building up his pack options.
“Dan, Andy and Chris will bring a lot of competition for places,” said Dawe.
Collier’s return has been much-anticipated after he came down on trial at the end of June.
The 30-year-old 6ft 6in lock had three years at Brickfields between 2009 and 2012, making 43 first team appearances, and so Dawe knows all about his abilities.
Collier, who also played at Championship level for London Welsh, Manchester and Ealing, is keen to get his career back on track after losing his way since leaving Brickfields in 2012.
“Dan was in the right place at the right time,” said Dawe on his signing. “I spoke to him just as he was considering re-igniting his career and it seemed a good fit.
“He came down for a week’s trial and proved himself and has now accepted an offer to come for the season.
“We have got quite an inexperienced squad as far as National One is concerned so to have someone who has played Championship rugby is good.
“He is a player with heaps of ability in the set piece and loose and he is comfortable at four, five or six.”
Collier has not played much rugby in the last three years, but Dawe is willing to take a chance on him.
“He’s said a lot of good things,” said Dawe, who is hoping he can get the best out of him. “But, as they say, the proof is in the pudding.”
Collier said: “I’m really pleased to be coming back to Plymouth Albion and working again with Graham Dawe who is a really good coach.
“My first spell at Albion was interrupted by injury and illness and I feel I have some unfinished business at the club.
“I’m one of the older players but everyone is working hard in pre-season training and I’m looking forward to having a good season and helping Albion get back into the Championship.”
Chesters might be struggling to make the start of the new campaign after suffering a leg injury towards the end of last season. However, Dawe was still keen to sign him.
“He is a hard-nosed open-side flanker, who likes to get his hands dirty,” said the Albion boss.
“At the moment he is recovering from a broken leg so he’s not going to be up to speed with the rest of the guys. We have to manage the situation and see if he can challenge for that number seven shirt in the near future.
“He has got a lot of ability and a never-say-die attitude. He is very uncompromising and does not mind putting himself where it hurts.”
Courtier is a different type of a forward to Chesters, but one Dawe believes could be useful.
“He’s very keen to play at the highest level possible,” said the former England hooker. “He is a player with a great engine who is very quick over the ground. He is a good link player and can play anywhere in the back-row.”