RUGBY UNION: Ambitious Chinnor recruit Fatialofa as player-coach

The Oxford Times: Junior Fatialofa is signing for Chinnor Junior Fatialofa is signing for Chinnor

Chinnor have snapped up former Exeter, Bristol and Cornish Pirates centre Junior Fatialofa as their new player-coach.

The 33-year-old New Zealander, who is director of rugby Matt Williams’s first signing of the close season, will head up Chinnor’s back division, assisted by Matt Goode.

Fatialofa, who played in the Premiership with Bristol, retired from professional rugby with the Pirates at the end of the Greene King IPA Championship season “Now I’ve hung up the pro boots after a great 12 years, I’m excited to be making the transition into a player-coach,” he said.

“I still have many years left in the legs, but I want to become a top level coach.

“I am excited to be joining Matt’s team. I remember playing against him ten years ago.

“I’m looking forward to a successful season and starting a new life in Thame.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited about pre-season!”

Born in Wellington, New Zealand, he was part of his home city’s NPC squad between 2000 and 2003 before moving to England.

Williams is delighted to have brought Fatialofa to the National 2 South club.

“He turned down five Championship clubs to come to us,” said Williams.

“To have a player of the calibre and strength of Junior coming to Chinnor RFC is very exciting indeed.

“He will help develop the young talent that we have here already as well as bring to bear his own inimitable style on the pitch.”

Meanwhile, young fly half Will Millett has left Chinnor for Loughbprough Students as he is joining the university in the autumn.

Last season’s captain, Liam Gilbert, has rejoined his hometown club Salisbury.

London Welsh hooker Kevin Davis and Henley prop Alex Penny have joined Ealing Trailfinders.

The pair boost National 1 side Ealing’s ranks as they seek an immediate return to the Championship.

Oxford University student Will Rowlands has been handed a first-team contract with Premiership club London Wasps.

The 22-year-old second row, who has won two Blues, moves up from Wasps’ academy.

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