Harrogate RUFC have made a number of additions to both their playing and coaching staff as they prepare for life in National Three North.
The Rudding Lane outfit were relegated from National Two North on the final day of the 2016/17 season and have moved quickly to strengthen in a bid to bounce back at the first attempt.
The biggest coup on the playing front sees ex-Harlequins fly-half Luke White join from Stourbridge, while Yorkshire Carnegie forward Richard Beck returns to ‘Gate as a member of their coaching team.
“I’m really happy with the guys we’ve brought in and I am confident that we can do well next season,” director of rugby Dave Doherty said.
“The aim is to get promoted, and we’ve lost a few players so we had to add to the group, but it’s also pleasing that we’ve managed to retain so many talented boys.
“Nine of our 1st XV squad from last season have received offers to go and play at a higher level or for more money, but so far they’ve all chosen to stay here.
“When you combine the talent that we already have at the club with those we’ve added, the squad looks strong and this bodes well.”
Fly-half White was the leading points scorer in National Two North last season and will line up in a back division bolstered further by the arrival of winger Andrew Lawson, who played his rugby in National One North for Blaydon in 2016/17.
Nineteen-year-old prop Jack Wafer, a former England Under-18s international, joins on a season-long loan from Carnegie, while number eight Andy Fradgley has transferred from Pontefract.
“Luke White is a massive coup for us,” Doherty added.
“He’s a really gifted ball-playing number 10 with a great skill-set and a fantastic goal-kicker.
“Andrew Lawson has a good pedigree and a proven track record of scoring tries, while the addition of Jack Wafer and Andy Fradgley strengthens the pack.”
Beck, who began his senior career at ‘Gate and is widely considered to be one of the most talented back rows in the English Championship, returns to the club in the non-playing role of defence coach.
Sam Fox, a 1st XV regular during the second half of last season, has been appointed as the Cockerels’ new Colts coach, but will play his rugby for University side Leeds Beckett in 2017/18.