FRASER Honey has admitted that the chance to work with former Cornish All Blacks star Steve Perry was ‘too good to turn down’ after joining National League Two South side Barnstaple.
The 20-year-old fly-half left the Cornish All Blacks at the end of the season following their relegation from National League Three South West, and after spending time mulling over his options following his England Counties under 20s tour to the Netherlands, Honey has decided to join the North Devon club who are coached by Perry and another former Polson Bridge favourite, Bryn Jenkins.
Honey said: “I had four concrete offers in total over the summer. Two were from National (League) One with Darlington Mowden Park and Hull Ionians while Redruth also came in for me, but in the end the chance to work with Steve was too good to turn down.
“People might think that I’ve joined Barnstaple because it’s relatively close to Holsworthy where I live, but I’ve been speaking to Steve for a while and the chance to work with him and the rest of the coaching staff was what made me realise that this is the best place for me to develop during the next stage of my career and give me the best chance of eventually becoming a professional.
“Steve was a great fly-half in his own right and to be able to train with him week in, week out will be brilliant. He’s going to be able to guide me in the right direction and I can use his knowledge to make me a better player. His knowledge and attention to detail is quite ridiculous so I believe that I’m in the best place to continue my rugby development.”
Last week was Honey’s first at the club, as they started their pre-season preparations, and he was already impressed with what he saw.
Honey said: “I’d heard nothing but good things about the club, both on and off the field, and I was delighted with how they’ve welcomed me. Although it was a bit daunting walking into a new club and the two training sessions were hard work, it was good to get to know everyone. The group are very tight-knit and we have lots of quality such as Ben Hilton and Jake Murphy, so we should be in for a good season although we know that at the end of the day it’s all about maintaining our National (League) Two status, as we only just survived last year.”
The 2017/18 season won’t be Honey’s first taste of National League Two South having started his senior career at that level two years ago with Launceston. However, he believes that he’s now ready to make his mark and nail down the number ten jersey at Pottington Road.
Honey added: “National (League) Two South, which is a very demanding league, where every week you have a very tough game. My first year of National (League) Two South was a steep learning curve for me and I learned a lot. I got flustered at times but now I’m much more confident and composed after a season in National Three (South West), while I’ve also become a lot more streetwise.
“Although I’m the only specialist ten at the club I know I’m not guaranteed to start every week. There’s a number of players who are versatile to start there if needs be so I need to prove that I should be in the team. I know that if I don’t perform in pre-season then I won’t be playing and that’s how it should be so I’ll take it game by game to maintain my place, as everyone wants to be in that starting fifteen. Everyone needs competition for their place, however I believe that my game has improved massively and I’ve now got some experience I can pass on to the rest of the players.”
Honey admitted last month that he has his eyes firmly fixed on plying his trade as a professional one day, and knows that he has to dominate games if he’s going to continue working his way up the rugby ladder.
Honey added: “If I want to eventually make it as a professional I know that I’ve got to perform every single week. I can’t play well one week and then go off the boil the next as that’s no good. People want consistency each week and that’s what I’m aiming to do.
“I need to be in the top three players from Barnstaple each week so that people realise that I can make it. To do that I’m going to work as hard as I can and work with Steve, Bryn the coaching staff and the rest of the players to ensure that we’re looking forward to another season of National (League) Two South in 12 months’ time.”
Although Honey has his eyes firmly set on the upcoming campaign with Barnstaple, he admitted that he’ll be back down at Polson Bridge when he can and is hopeful that they’ll soon be pushing to reclaim their National?League status.
Honey added: “I enjoyed a number of great years at Launceston and I’m desperate for them to do well this year.
“Unfortunately the start to the season last year cost us and we still nearly managed to survive. However, if the club can add a couple of new players and start the season strongly then I’m hopeful that they’ll be pushing to get promoted back to where they should be.
“If I?have a spare weekend and the All Blacks are playing then I’ll definitely be down at Polson Bridge supporting the lads in their quest for promotion.”