Young backs hope to make their mark after injuries with Devonport Services

TWO highly-rated young backs are aiming to get their rugby careers back on track with Devonport Services after long-term injuries.

Reuben Edwards and Mike Howell have both committed to the Devon Cup winners for the 2023-24 season.

Former Launceston player Edwards, 23, has not played for 18 months after suffering a serious dislocation of his elbow.

He had played more than 50 league games for the Cornish All Blacks and represented Cornwall under-20s before his unfortunate injury.

Edwards, who can play wing, centre or full-back, has a house right next to the Rectory and has previously played with a number of the Services players before and so it made sense for him to decide to make his comeback with the team that finished fourth in Regional One South West last season.

“I am looking forward to getting back playing again,” said Edwards. “Last year I did start to miss it.”

He added:  “I think it is going to take a bit of time to get back into it.

“I just have to ease my way back in. I have just got back into the gym.”

Services head coach Ben Russell said: “Reuben was at Launceston when I went down there coaching a couple of times. He’s a very good player but has been out after busting his elbow.

“We tried last year to get him to come, but I think he was very wary of his elbow, however, he can’t wait now – and he lives as close to the club as you could possibly get.”

Fly-half Howell has actually pulled on a Devonport shirt before. He started Services’ home game against Camborne on October 8 while on loan from Plymouth Albion, but his debut lasted just 20 minutes as he dislocated his shoulder and never played again last term.

But the 22-year-old University of Plymouth player is now hoping he can make his mark at the Rectory this season.

“I played one game and put my shoulder out,” said Howell. “It was a bit of a pain and frustrating, but I enjoyed watching and helping out.

“I just want to try and play as much as I can now.”

Howell, despite just graduating, is going to be around Plymouth for the next five years as he is about to start a new degree in dentistry.

“He’s a good player,” said Services’ head coach Russell. “And he had a wonderful 15 minutes here against Camborne!

“He was dual-registered with Albion last year and looked very good in training. He had just come back from a hamstring injury and in his first game he did that shoulder injury and was out for the season, but that’s rugby sometimes.”

Services have a few new signings lined up as they try to build on their successful first season at level five.

“We have a few news faces joining us,” said Russell. “We are just trying to build on last year. We had a successful season but we want to keep on striving to get better and go higher.

“Finishing fourth was brilliant and we also got the Devon Cup win but we just want to keep on going.

“Bringing new faces and some good calibre of players will just make everyone drive forward and go up to try and be competitive.”

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