Two former England Under 20 team-mates will be reunited next season after agreeing contracts for 2018/19 with Jersey Reds. Gloucester lock/back row forward Charlie Beckett and Bath Rugby scrum-half Will Homer will both join up with the Reds' squad when pre-season training kicks off in June.
Beckett, 22, has been with Gloucester for the past two seasons, captaining the Cherry-and-Whites' Anglo-Welsh Cup and Aviva 'A' League sides and also featuring in the European Challenge Cup, and gaining additional experience in the Greene King IPA Championship with Hartpury. His first professional experience was with Leicester Tigers, which included Anglo-Welsh Cup experience and a loan spell with Coventry in National 1.
Liverpool-born Beckett played for England U20 in the Six Nations and Junior World Cup in 2015, having previously captained England U18.
Homer was also capped by England at U18 and U20 level, and was a member of the same Junior World Cup squad as Beckett and former Reds' winger Tom Howe in 2015. Born in Winchester, he has been part of the set-up at Bath since the age of 16 and represented the club in the Aviva Premiership, European Challenge Cup and Anglo-Welsh Cup.
22-year-old Homer also gained additional experience in the Championship playing for Yorkshire Carnegie (18 appearances this season) and Cornish Pirates (in 2014/15), making trips to Jersey for league games with both clubs.
Head Coach Harvey Biljon said: "Charlie and Will both showed the talent needed to secure contracts with Premiership clubs as teenagers, but it's a competitive environment and neither has been given regular opportunities at the top level. Now they'll have the chance to develop their careers in a settled Championship environment, knowing that time is on their side and that through working hard they can earn another shot at the Premiership in the future."
With the newly-signed duo added in, a total of 32 players are currently confirmed as part of the Reds' squad for 2018/19:
Current players (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
* James Newey, centre
* Nick Selway, hooker
* Jerry Sexton, lock
* Auguy Slowik, wing/ full-back
* Jake Upfield, back row/lock
* Jason Worrall, wing/full-back
New signings (13)
* Charlie Beckett (Gloucester), lock/ back row
* Brett Herron (Ulster), fly-half
* Graham Geldenhuys (Sharks), back row
* Kyle Hatherell (Marr), lock/back row
* Will Homer (Bath), scrum-half
* Koch Marx, (Golden Lions), centre/wing
* Harry Morley, (Cambridge), prop
* Hilton Mudariki (University of Johannesburg), scrum-half
* Aaron Penberthy (Ealing Trailfinders), fly-half
* Sam Rodman (Ealing Trailfinders), prop
* Jack Stapley (Loughborough Students), wing
* Leroy Van Dam (Valley RFC), wing/ full-back
* Janco Venter (Maties), back row
Confirmation of those leaving the club at the end of the season can be found HERE
The 2018/19 squad will face three summer games after the Reds' pre-season schedule was recently finalised. French ProD2 side RC Vannes will visit the Island on July 28th, and this will be followed by two August games against English opponents at Stade Santander International: Aviva Premiership side Harlequins on August 11th and Old Elthamiams from National 1 on August 18th.
There is one final match of 2017/18 for Jersey Reds 1st XV, when a predominantly amateur side travels to Island neighbours Guernsey to play for the Siam Cup, one of rugby's oldest trophies, this Saturday. With a three-season eligibility rule for professionals agreed between the clubs, just two feature in the Reds' squad: hooker Nick Selway, who will skipper the side, and Tongan international Uili Kolo'ofa'i, making his final appearance before heading home to New Zealand with his family.
Picture credits: Martin Bennett/ Gloucester Rugby (Charlie Beckett) & Bath Rugby (Will Homer)
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