CORNISH All Blacks have announced the signing of fly-half James Tucker ahead of the upcoming South West Premier season.
The 21-year-old moves to Polson Bridge having last played for St Austell in their victorious Western Counties (West) promotion campaign in 2019-20.
He was also part of the Cornwall Under 20s side that reached the county championship final at Twickenham three years ago.
Joint head coach Ian Goldsmith is delighted with the signing, telling the Post: “James first came to our attention back in 2018 when he was instrumental in helping Cornwall U20s reach the county final and in particular his game management. We’ve been trying to get him up at Polson since then.
“For someone so young, he demonstrated all the key attributes a number ten requires — plays flat and interests the defence, has wonderful passing technique and range, can sniff a gap and has a quality left boot which he uses effectively for gaining territory and exiting, and also those cute nudges/chips that can turn a defence and create opportunities.
“He seems to know when to run, when to pass and when to kick, and invariably he takes the right option.
“James, like his namesake (CABs legend Jimmy), is also tough as teak and does not shirk his defensive duties.
“We’ve already seen James in action, for the CABs, during the double-header with his former club, Redruth where he showed how he will develop our game and implement the pattern of rugby that we want to play and for the supporters to enjoy.
“He’s an attacking fly-half whose first thought is to attack as opposed to play for territory. We’ve got a really good player on our hands.”
Goldsmith also admits he expects some fierce competition for the fly-half slot between Tucker and current incumbent Glenn Coles.
He said: “They’ll push each other. James can also play at full-back as well, but it’s going to be very competitive.”
Tucker arrives having moved to live and work in Exeter.
He told the Post: “I had spoken to Ian a couple of years ago about potentially joining on loan. The club has a good history and is on the way up again, so it’s a great club to get involved with.
“With the quality of squad we have, I’m expecting us to push towards the top end of the table.”
Having made sporadic appearances at National Two (South) level, plus a season at St Austell, Tucker is looking forward to testing himself at Step Five.
He said: “I’ve played a few games for Redruth but the South West Premier is a good competitive league, so I’m looking forward to pushing myself and see how far we can go!
“The season at St Austell helped with my consistency. Turning up week in week out and putting performances in is what it’s all about. I’d like to think I bring an attacking threat, good structure and game management which is what you hope for from a ten.”
So what are Tucker’s expectations?
He added: “We had a couple of pre-season games against Redruth who are a good side in the league above and we did alright.
“I’m looking forward to getting the season started and seeing the Cornish All Blacks fans back in the stands and meeting everyone in person. I can’t wait to play in front of a crowd again!”