Jersey Reds have added two more forwards to their squad ahead of the 2019/20 season, as well as confirming the captain for the forthcoming campaign.
Second row Sam Offer and prop James Wayland, both of whom hail from Australia, have arrived at Stade Santander International and joined their new team-mates in preparing for the forthcoming campaign in the Greene King IPA Championship.
The Reds will play their first pre-season match against Old Elthamians on Saturday August 17th, followed by a trial match on Friday August 30th. Welsh region Scarlets will travel to Jersey for the final pre-season contest on Saturday September 7th, after which the Reds play their first competitive match at home to Newcastle Falcons in the Championship Cup on Saturday September 21st.
Offer, 22, was born in Perth, Western Australia, where he attended Wesley College. He represented Western Force Under 20s from 2015 to 2017, as well as playing for Nedlands in the WA Premier. He moved to Europe in 2018 and spent a season as part of the academy squad at French ProD2 club US Carcassonne.
21-year-old Wayland was born in Sydney and played for Southern Districts in the Shute Shield from 2017 until he made the move to Jersey earlier this month. A keen all-round sportsman, he has also played baseball and rugby league.
Director of Rugby Harvey Biljon said: “Sam and James are both very promising young players. They now have the opportunity to switch to a full-time professional environment, which I believe will provide them with a great opportunity to develop their game. I’m looking forward to them both becoming important members of our squad.”
The newcomers take the total of new signings so far for the Reds to 12, alongside 24 players from last season retained for 2019-20.
Apakuki Ma’afu, about to embark on his fourth season as a Red, has been chosen as the new captain for the new season.
“I’m really pleased and honoured to have been chosen for this role,” said the Tongan international centre. “It’s going to be challenging, but we have had a good pre-season so far and I’m excited to get into the season.
The new captain will be assisted by Roy Godfrey and Max Argyle as vice-captains, and paid tribute to last year’s captain Godfrey.
“Roy’s a great leader and gives me a lot of confidence,” he said. “He’s still got a really important role, and having him around means I can do my job better.”
The 24 Reds players who signed new deals, or whose existing contracts already extended into 2019/20, are:
* Jack Macfarlane (hooker – joined the Reds in 2016)
* Charlie Maddison (hooker – 2018)
* Leeroy Atalifo (prop – 2017)
* Alec Clarey (prop – 2017)
* Roy Godfrey (prop – 2017)
* Harry Morley (prop – 2018)
* Zei Alexis (prop – 2018)
* Charlie Beckett (lock – 2018)
* Liam Hallam-Eames (lock – 2019)
* Max Argyle (back row – 2016)
* Rory Bartle (back row – 2017)
* Conor Joyce (back row – 2017)
* Jake Upfield (back row – 2017)
* Kyle Hatherell (back row – 2018)
* Janco Venter (back row – 2018)
* Will Homer (scrum-half – 2018)
* Liam Howley (scrum-half – 2019)
* Aaron Penberthy (fly-half – 2018) (also a Jersey player 2013-16)
* Apakuki Ma’afu (centre – 2016)
* Mark Best (centre – 2017)
* James Newey (centre/wing – 2018)
* Jack Stapley (wing – 2018)
* Auguy Slowik (wing/full-back – 2017)
* Leroy Van Dam (wing/full-back – 2018)
New signings joined squad June 2019 (12):
* TJ Harris (hooker) – Wasps
* Dan Richardson (prop) – Rotherham Titans
* James Wayland (prop) – Southern Districts
* Alex Thompson (lock) – Ulster
* Sam Offer (lock) – Western Force
* George Willmott (back row) – Jersey Reds Athletic
* Josh Bainbridge (back row) – Yorkshire Carnegie
* Luc Jones (scrum-half) – Richmond
* Brendan Cope (fly-half) – Yorkshire Carnegie
* Greg Dyer (fly-half/ full-back) – Valladolid RAC
* George Spencer (centre) – Edinburgh Academical
* Tom Williams (full-back) – Cardiff Blues
The Reds have also taken steps to retain members of the existing coaching team into next season. DoR Biljon, who marked five years in Jersey this January, has signed an extended contract stretching to 2024. His coaching colleagues confirmed for next season are:
* Neil Tunnah (Assistant Coach – Forwards – joined the Reds in 2017)
* Ed Robinson (Assistant Coach – Backs – 2018)
* Jim Molony (Strength & Conditioning Coach – 2015)
* Emlyn Lynch (Head Physiotherapist – 2018)
* Shaun Slater (Analyst – 2018)
* Oliver Ware (Physiotherapist – 2018)