Promising back row forward George Willmott has signed a two-year professional contract with Jersey Reds.
A regular member of the Jersey Reds Athletic XV in the past two seasons, and Siam Cup debutant in Guernsey last May, 20-year-old Willmott will step up to the 1st XV squad this summer and train full-time with fellow professionals.
Willmott has strong roots in Jersey as his Mother Julie was born on the Island, and there were regular trips to the Island for holidays, including watching the Reds in action. The Willmotts made the move back to Jersey after George completed school in England two years ago.
Jersey Reds Director of Rugby Harvey Biljon said: “George is a player who I’ve watched while representing the Athletic – he’s shown great potential and also a good attitude during recent months when he’s spent some time training with the 1st team. He now has the opportunity to push on in a full-time professional environment and really make the most of his ability.”
Making his first steps on a rugby field as a mini for Lutterworth RFC in Leicestershire, and progressing up to the club’s Colts XV, Willmott spent three years at Millfield School in Bath where his rugby coach was former Bath and England prop John Mallett. On returning to Leicestershire after his GCSEs, he attended Brooksby Melton College on a BTEC Sports Science Course sponsored by Leicester Tigers.
Willmott, who is also a keen sailor and qualified surf instructor, has some impressive rugby pedigree in his family tree in the form of his great Uncle, former Richmond and Scotland captain, and British & Irish Lion, Peter Kininmonth. He will officially start his contract in June when the Reds’ squad convenes for pre-season training ahead of the 2019/20 campaign.
He said: “I’m really excited to be given the opportunity to train and play with the Reds, especially with the high level of coaching at the club. It’s always been a dream of mine to play professional rugby – I’m looking forward to the next chapter and want to develop as a player and earn the chance to play with a great bunch of lads.”
Myles Landick, Head Coach of Jersey Reds Athletic, paid tribute to Willmott’s contribution in the past two seasons.
“George has been one of our stand-out performers and really deserves this opportunity,which shows that there are opportunities for the best young Island players,” he said. “I hope there are others now playing Mini and Junior rugby, or for the Colts or Athletic teams, who will be inspired by this and will want to follow the same route as George in the future.”