Jersey Reds have confirmed a quartet of new signings from the Southern Hemisphere to bolster the squad being assembled for the 2018/19 season.
Back row forwards Graham Geldenhuys and Janco Venter, scrum-half Hilton Mudariki and wing/full-back Leroy Van Dam will all join the Reds' squad this summer in preparation for next season.
Janco Venter, 23, has won 19 caps for his native Namibia, including playing in the 2015 Rugby World Cup. He has played the majority of his rugby in South Africa, including representing Western Province at under 19 and senior level, and in the Varsity Cup competition for the Maties club attached to the University of Stellenbosch.
Graham Geldenhuys was born in Cape Town and also played for Western Province at U19 level, and winning South African U16 caps. The 22-year-old has subsequently moved to Durban and made eight appearances for the Sharks in last year's Currie Cup competition.
Hilton Mudariki, 25, was born in Harare and has played 13 internationals for Zimbabwe, featuring alongside former Jersey player Kingsley Lang, as well as representing his country at Sevens. The scrum-half is another to have played at under 19 level for Western Province before enrolling at the University of Johannesburg, where he studied Sports Psychology and played Varsity Cup rugby.
Leroy Van Dam, is a native of New Zealand's North Island who has been capped for the 'Baby Blacks', his country's national under 20 squad. The 24-year-old has played for New Zealand regional sides Manawatu, Bay of Plenty and Otago; his most recent rugby has been in Hong Kong, where he recently helped Societe General Valley RFC to a HKRU Premiership title with a win in the final over USRC Tigers, who included Jerseyman Joe Ellyatt in their line-up.
Head Coach Harvey Biljon said: "Janco, Graham, Hilton and Leroy are players who have shown great potential in their careers in South Africa and New Zealand to date - now they have a chance to push on in a professional setting in the English Championship, and I'll be excited to see how they'll evolve their games after they've got stuck in to pre-season training."
A total of 24 players are currently confirmed as part of the Reds' squad for 2018/19:
* Max Argyle, back-row
* Leeroy Atalifo, prop
* Rory Bartle, back row
* Mark Best, centre
* Alec Clarey, prop
* Joel Dudley, scrum-half
* George Eastwell, centre
* Roy Godfrey, prop
* Josh Hodson, wing
* Conor Joyce, flanker
* 'Apakuki Ma'afu, centre
* Jack Macfarlane, hooker
* Dave Mckern, lock
* Nick Selway, hooker
* Jerry Sexton, lock
* Jake Upfield, back row/lock
* James Voss, lock
* Brett Herron (Ulster), fly-half
* Graham Geldenhuys (Sharks), back row
* Hilton Mudariki (University of Johannesburg), scrum-half
* Aaron Penberthy (Ealing Trailfinders), fly-half
* Sam Rodman (Ealing Trailfinders), prop
* Leroy Van Dam (Valley RFC), wing/ full-back
* Janco Venter (Maties), back row
One player who won't be part of the squad next season is Ross Adair. The Irish wing has left the Island having not played since the Reds’ pre-season matches in August.
The Reds are nearing the end of a five-week period without a home game, but supporters on the Island have a brace of matches at Stade Santander International to look forward to before the end of this month. First of all Rotherham Titans will visit for a Championship game this Saturday March 24th, and then on the afternoon of Good Friday (March 30th), there's the British & Irish Cup quarter-final against Doncaster Knights. Special rates of £10 (members) and £12 (non-members) are available for the Cup fixture for those who book in advance via the Eventbrite site.
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