Four new front row signings have been confirmed by Jersey Reds as the club looks ahead to a new Greene King IPA Championship season.
Although the start date for the 2020/21 campaign has yet to be confirmed following the coronavirus shutdown that has already lasted almost three months, the Reds are looking to the future and planning a series of announcements, grouped by position, over the coming days.
Hooker George Edgson and a trio of props – Ollie Dawe, Jack Higgins and Ciaran Parker – will bolster the Reds’ resources in an area that has been a traditional Jersey strength over the past decade: the front row.
Edgson, 24 (pictured above) will make the move from Championship rivals Doncaster Knights. Having played prop during his early days at Wasps Academy and represented England under 18 in this position, he made the switch to hooker and also has Championship experience with Rotherham Titans and Ealing Trailfinders.
Dawe (pictured top), leaves Bristol Rugby this month after a four-year stint that has encompassed both the Championship and the Gallagher Premiership. The 23-year-old loose-head prop, who began his senior career at Plymouth Albion, joined Bristol ahead of the 2016/17 season, in which he subsequently represented England in the under 20 Six Nations and Junior World Cup.
Tight-head prop Higgins, 28 (pictured above), will move to Jersey from Plymouth Albion, who he represented in National One this season. Having lived and played rugby in New Zealand for eight years from the age of 17, he played for Canterbury u19, Massey and North Harbour, as well as representing New Zealand Universities at under 21 level. Returning to England in 2017, the Coventry-born front-rower was with his home-city club from 2017-19, while also making Premiership Cup appearances while on loan to Wasps and Northampton Saints.
After three seasons in Ireland, 24-year-old tight-head Parker (pictured below – credit INPHO/Morgan Treacy), will make the switch to Jersey this summer. After representing England u20 in 2015, the Stockport-born prop spent two seasons with Sale Sharks before moving to Munster in summer 2017, subsequently making appearances for the province in both the Guinness PRO14 and European Champions Cup.
Director of Rugby Harvey Biljon said: “We intend to maintain the reputation of Jersey as somewhere where the set-piece is a strength. I have worked with our new Forwards Coach Rob Webber to identify players who we think will be real assets to our squad once we are able to get together for pre-season.”
The new signings will join 15 players from the Reds’ 2019/20 squad [recent stayers and leavers were confirmed HERE], as well as other new faces set to be unveiled in the coming days.