When news happens, text BAZ and your photos or videos to 80360. Or contact us by email and phone.
Parsons joins 'Stoke
BASINGSTOKE RFC director of rugby James Croker has made a number of signings as he prepares for a serious promotion push in his second season at Down Grange.
But, perhaps the most exciting of his new men is England Colleges international Jack Parsons.
The centre, who lives in Tadley and attends Queen Mary’s College, is seen as an exciting talent for the future, having spent the last few years in the Harlequins youth system.
“Signing Jack is a massive coup for us,” Croker said. “We want Basingstoke lads to be playing their rugby here, especially talented players like Jack.”
In addition to Parsons, Croker has moved to sign a pair of scrum-halves. Brighton Hill Community College teacher Guy Wilkinson has moved to Down Grange from Andover, while Chris Goggins, a product of the London Irish youth system, is another new addition.
“Recruiting two scrum-halves means we are now really competitive in that area,” Croker added. “Jamie Fish and Ben Hall are outstanding players but, when you only have two scrum-halves, a couple of injuries can mess things up.”
Croker is also looking forward to welcoming Jamie Folan back into the fold after the hooker spent a year travelling abroad, while flanker Michael West has returned after a short spell at Overton.
The ’Stoke coach is not done signing players yet though.
“I am still looking to bring in another five or six players as we look to put the next layer on the onion,” Croker said. “We will not be doing things dramatically differently but there will be changing a few things because we want to start blowing teams away.”
Croker has also made signings on the non-playing side, recruiting former player Simon Lovegrove as a strength and conditioning coach.
Meanwhile Neil Catlin has become the head coach of the second string, with Cliff Service coaching the forwards, while former Andover player Matt Ball has also joined the coaching team.