Latu returns as JRFC squad continues to take shape

30/04/2013

Jersey announce further signings for 2013/14 squad

Latu Makaafi, one of the first professionals to play for Jersey, is to return to the Island after five years as one of the new signings for the 2013/14 season.

The powerful back row forward, 31, has signed from Rotherham Titans, one of three new signings announced by Jersey today as squad-building continues ahead of a second season in the RFU Championship - the others are another Titan, scrum-half Jimmy Williams, and the Cambridge prop Tom Fidler.

"I'm sure local rugby supporters will share my delight at getting Latu back in a Jersey shirt," stated Director of Rugby Ben Harvey. "He's become renowned in the Championship for his uncompromising style of play during three years in this league with Doncaster and Rotherham.

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Latu spent his first two years in English rugby with Bradford & Bingley before coming to Jersey in 2006, when he and Kern Yates were the first two professionals signed for Jersey (pictured above with former DoR Dai Burton), then participants in London Two South - level six of the RFU pyramid. He helped Jersey to third place in his first season, and then promotion the following year, before returning to Yorkshire, where he played for Hull and Wharfedale before joining Doncaster in 2010.

Williams, 24, played alongside Latu for Rotherham against Jersey this season. The 24-year-old began his senior career at Gloucester aged 17 and subsequently played for Lydney and Birmingham & Solihull before joining Rotherham in summer 2011.

Fidler is a 27-year-old prop who has made more than 150 national league appearances since his debut for Dings Crusaders at the age of 20. He subsequently represented Newbury, Birmingham & Solihull before moving to Cambridge in summer 2011, and also spent a brief period at Ealing Trailfinders in 2011/12.

"Jimmy is a live-wire scrum-half who really impressed me this season and his presence alongside Nicky Griffiths and Joel Dudley will give us real strength-in-depth at number nine," said Harvey. "Tom is a proven operator, and I've no doubt that he's capable of making the step up from National One to the Championship."

As three new signings are unveiled, Jersey can also confirm the departure of prop Richard Barrington. The Gloucester-born loosehead made 20 league appearances during his lone season at St Peter but the 24-year-old has now been snapped up by Aviva Premiership side Saracens.

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"The Championship is a shop window, and there are Premiership scouts at every game, which creates a real opportunity for talented young players like Richard," said Harvey. "He's been on the radar of Saracens for some time and spent a week there earlier in the season, and has now got the chance to make the move.

"We're very sorry to lose a player who has played a key role for us this season, but he deserves the opportunity and we wish him all the best."

While Harvey hopes to add the final players to his squad for next season, Jersey are also preparing hard for the finale to the 2012/13 season, the annual Siam Cup clash with rival Channel Island Guernsey, which takes place at St Peter this Saturday (k-o 3pm).


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For queries, contact Tom Innes, JRFC Media Officer, 07829 959888 tom_innes@hotmail.com

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