RUGBY: Davies continues to rebuild his Gloucester squad

Gloucester director of rugby Nigel Davies

Gloucester director of rugby Nigel Davies

First published in Sport
Last updated

IT seems to be a signing-a-day down at Kingsholm.

Hot on the heels of the announcement that Scarlets fly half Aled Thomas is to join Gloucester rugby next season, the club has revealed three further catches – Mark Atkinson, Tom Isaacs and Steve McColl Bedford Blues’ star inside centre Atkinson, 24, a former England U20 international, is seen as back-up for Billy Twelvetrees but also brings the ability to cover both fly half and full back.

The arrival of both Thomas and Atkinson should complete the club’s search for successors to Freddie Burns.

Gloucester’s director of rugby Nigel Davies said: “Mark is one of the stand-out players in the Championship.

“He's 6ft 4in tall, so brings great stature to his game but also has a great handling and offloading skill set.”

And Davies stressed that he hopes to see Atkinson follow in the footsteps of other recent Championship signings like Rob Cook and Sione Kalamafoni.

Isaacs’ recruitment from the Ospreys will add competition for places in Henry Trinder’s outside centre slot.

Isaacs was a member of the Wales side that won the 2009 Sevens World Cup.

The 27-year-old came through the Cardiff Blues Academy, played for Wales U20s and has gained plenty of experience in the colours of both Newport Gwent Dragons and the Ospreys.

“If anyone has seen Tom play for the Ospreys, they will realise how powerful and elusive a runner he is,” said Davies.

"He's a very difficult guy to stop, really hits some hard lines, breaks tackles and is a big hitter defensively.

“I know speaking to a lot of the players down at the Ospreys that they rate him very highly.”

Fife-born full back McColl has spent the past three seasons with Leeds Carnegie where he was named Players' Player of the Season and earned a place in the RFU Championship Dream XV, a team voted for by all the Championship coaches.

He also caught the eye of the national coaches this season, training with Scotland’s autumn international squad.

Davies said: “Again, he’s somebody who stands out at Championship level. Leeds are a good team, who play a particularly good brand of rugby and who are fighting hard to get into the Premiership.

"Steve's been a big part of their success. He's a very strong, very powerful runner from deep and who hits good lines.

"I'm very excited about this guy. Both he and Mark (Atkinson) can make the step up from Championship level rugby and be a huge success.

"They may not be as well known as some of the players we've announced in the past, but I'm very confident that they will have equally as big an impact.”

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