Exiles bring in five new faces ahead of 2017/18

It’s been a busy few weeks at the Athletic Ground.

Following on from the arrival of Canadian international Kyle Baillie and a number of contract extensions at the beginning of the month, the new coaching staff of Jake Sharp and Director of Rugby Dave Morris have raided their former clubs to boost the Exiles ahead of next season.

Bedford duo Mike Howard and Dan George have joined incoming player-coach Jake Sharp in Richmond, and will bring plenty of experience to the Championship side.

31 year old Howard is a Bedford Stalwart, having made just shy of 240 appearances for the Blues since he arrived at Goldington Road in 2008. The 6’4 lock will join the Exiles on a part-time basis, balancing his training alongside work commitments.

Former Gloucester, Worcester and London Welsh hooker George will be joining his former team mate Sharp in the coaching set up, with the 30 year old sharing his wealth of experience while also providing an option in the front row, signing on in the role of player-coach.

After 2 years at the club, 21 year old fly half Harry Sheppard will be going in the other direction, leaving London Scottish for a new challenge at Goldington Road.

Like Sharp, newly arrived DoR Dave Morris has returned to his previous side to make a double swoop for former players, with promising young front-rowers Ben Christie and Isaac Miller arriving from Loughborough.

A Scotland Under 20 international and former Edinburgh player, 22-year-old hooker Miller has been playing for the Loughborough Student side while studying a sports science degree, captaining England Students and Loughborough during their National One campaign in 2016/17.

A regular starter alongside Miller in the Loughborough front row, 21-year-old prop Christie has also been part of the Scotland Under 20’s set up but failed to make an appearance due to injury.

The final arrival is 22-year-old back rower Ed Milne, who will make the step up to the Championship after 2 successful years with Rosslyn Park in National One. An exciting young number 8 out of the Leicester Tigers Academy, Milne already has a wealth of experience having played for Leicester, Coventry and Rosslyn Park, as well as enjoying a brief loan spell with Champions Cup finalists and Top 14 outfit Clermont Auvergne.

The Exiles are building a strong and balanced squad, with experienced Championship veterans and exciting young prospects arriving to boost a number of current stars who have already extended their stay as they look toward the upcoming 2017/18 season.

The club and their fans will surely be getting excited, if not quietly confident, for a thrilling season ahead.

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A proud Welshman, James has been writing about sport for over 8 years now, covering rugby union, rugby league and football for a number of publications. He worked in the media departments at a historic non league football club and a Championship Rugby League club, before moving to Scotland to work as a shepherd.Not content with just writing about sport, he spends what little spare time the sheep allow him to coach youth and women's rugby.
Follow James Rhys on twitter @JamesRhys90

3 comments on “Exiles bring in five new faces ahead of 2017/18

  1. The Chiel on

    Interesting to see how the attraction of the Championship evolves with no play offs and Bristol likely to run away with it. Scottish have a real transition season ahead – the signings look decent, but not spectacular which is to be expected for a team moving away from full time rugby.
    However after the awful end to last season, mid table won’t be a bad outcome.
    Hopefully even without the formal SRU link, there will still be a place for developing young Scottish talent – there is a long list of recent RAG graduates moving into full time pro rugby in Scotland.

    • Mikelinds on

      I agree, like to see what LS sign up / retain in the threes. Sharp is a superb addition. I expect once Rennie and Cockers are ‘on seat’ we’ll see some youngsters getting a chance from up north. As you say there’s quite a list of RAG graduates moving on up.

      I think the change in management is all for the good, we’re going down a slightly different path now, and I believe the mix of full and part time will work well. All Championship sides, bar Bristol, will be doing a bit of belt tightening, think Leeds lose the Carnegie money this year, not sure about that. The demise of London Welsh has focussed a few minds. Better to live within your means than going back to square one.

      • The Chiel on

        Really interested to see how Rory Bartle goes at Jersey. All things considered I thought they were the best developing team in the Championship, and were finishing as the best of the “non moneyed” teams. 4 of their last season’s pack getting AP contracts is some going.
        I know they also have their financial issues but they certainly seem to be getting it right on the pitch. Bartle could really kick on there – I rate him as a player and a leader. Pity he’s either English or Welsh !

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