THE Cornish All Blacks have announced that back-row forward George Bone has committed to the club for the upcoming season.
The 24-year-old flanker has been living and working away, but is now back in the area full-time and it comes at a perfect time for joint head coach Ian Goldsmith with Charlie Tummon going back to university and Dean Abrams deciding not to play.
A delighted Goldsmith told the Post: “Having George back with us is brilliant news, and is something we weren’t really expecting. He was living and working up in Bridgwater but has decided to move back and work on the family farm.
“He came back in mid-March and ended up playing a couple of games towards the end of the season, including the Cornwall Cup final against St Austell, as a couple of injuries opened up a space for him.
“But he’s a quality player and we’re looking forward to having him around for the whole season.”
With skipper Lloyd Duke and Brandon Rowley regulars at openside-flanker and number eight respectively, Bone is likely to fight for the blindside-flanker spot.
Goldsmith added: “George is an all-action back-rower. He’s got a fantastic engine on him, is really abrasive in the contact both with and without the ball, and a real nuisance at the breakdown.
“At the set-piece he’s fantastic whether that’s jumping or lifting and another thing he really adds is that high energy both in the week at training and on a Saturday, and that really rubs off on the other players and helps us as a coaching group.
“He’s now coming into his prime years as a rugby player and is a local lad which means he understands what it means to play for the club, so it ticks a lot of boxes for us.”
Bone admits he’s delighted to be back at Polson Bridge, telling the Post: “Launceston is my childhood club and getting back involved in the club was one of the first commitments I made when moving back home.
“I’m hungry to give everything I can on the field and with a full pre-season under my belt I hope to strengthen the depth of the back row.
“I think we enter the new league structure (Regional One South West) with high expectations of a top-four finish, especially if we can get out of the blocks early in the season with an important run of games this side of Christmas.”
As it stands, the rest of the squad remains from last year besides Dan Goldsmith, who has moved to Plymouth Albion and Cam Fogden who moved to Australia in the spring, and although work is going on behind the scenes there are no new signings yet.
Goldsmith said: “We’ve got a few players in the pipeline but until it’s absolutely concrete from both sides we’ll wait. We’ve also got some exciting Colts coming through, and although they’re likely to need a while to be ready for the rigours of first team rugby, there’s always a chance someone may surprise us at pre-season training.”
Launceston utilised their partnership with Plymouth Albion to have prop James McFarlane for much of last term, and Goldsmith plans on doing so once more.
He said: “We’re continuing our arrangement with (Plymouth) Albion. We’ll get a better idea in August as to who they may want to loan out and from there we’ll look at the squad and see where we feel we need some extra quality and cover. That said, we won’t just be bringing somebody in for the sake of it, especially in the areas where we’re already strong.”