ANDY CHESTERS believes moving to Plymouth Albion is the ‘right progression’ for him.
The back-row forward made the switch to Brickfields from National Two South side Launceston at the end of last week.
He admitted the opportunity to play at a higher level was one he could not turn down.
“I’m extremely happy to have joined Albion,” said Chesters. “This is the right progression for me. I’m moving up the leagues. I’m excited to develop myself.
“I was at Launceston last year and before that I was at Hartpury College. I did my degree in sports business management at Hartpury. We won promotion from National Two to National One, but that was the year I left. We also won the BUCS title while I was there.
“But after my degree I moved back down here and played for Launceston.”
Although born in Hertfordshire, Devon became Chesters home at the age of 13 when he moved to Tavistock to attend Kelly College. His parents later followed him down to West Country
It was at Kelly College that he first got to know about Plymouth Albion.
“Plymouth Albion would come down once a month to train and that was a good opportunity to see what it was all about,” said Chesters, who after leaving Kelly took a gap year and went and played rugby in New Zealand for six months.
Dawe, who is rebuilding Albion following their relegation from the Championship to National One, sees Chesters as an open-side flanker and the player also believes that is where his future lies.
“That is exactly where I am looking to play,” he said. “I played the last couple of seasons at six and number eight, but I think open-side is my position. That’s where I want to be and I am going to work hard to try and get that shirt.”
However, Chesters is still recovering from an operation on a heel injury, which means he may be struggling to make the start of the season.
“I ruptured one of the tendons in the back of my heel and had to have it operated on,” he said. “It happened at the end of last season. Someone slid down the back of my ankle.
“I was hoping to play for Cornwall but the injury got in the way.
“But now I am in the final stages of my rehab.
“I’m back running now and just a few weeks away from getting back into training.”
Having joined a new club Chesters is keen to prove a point, but he knows he cannot rush his recovery.
“Everyone – physios and surgeons – have told me to take my time because I could mess everything up, which is the last thing I want to do because I need to make a point and I need to prove myself,” he said.
Chesters, though, was pleased that Dawe still wanted to sign him despite missing the County Championship and part of pre-season.
“I think Graham saw me play quite a bit last year and I am glad I made an impression enough for him to sign me without playing for Cornwall and knowing I would miss half of pre-season,” he said. “I am very pleased with that.
“I’m excited to be here now. I think it’s an exciting time for all the lads here because there’s a lot of new boys.”
At one point swimming was Chesters’ main sport, but during his teenage years rugby took over.
“I used to be a competitive swimmer, which was the main reason I went to Kelly,” admitted Chesters, who was a short distance freestyle specialist.
“But I wouldn’t say I was amazing, otherwise I would still be doing it, but I did play rugby and swim at the same time.
“Swimming is quite an anti-social sport. You are with yourself paddling up and down two hours in the morning and two hours in the evening.
“Rugby is much more enjoyable.”