Cambridge complete first summer signings
New arrivals and youngster promoted to first-team squad
Henry Peck, Pierre Peres and Cameron Keenan have been announced as Cambridge Rugby Club’s first new summer signings.
And colts player Euan Kingdom has been promoted to the first-team squad for the forthcoming National League One campaign.
There has been little news coming out of Volac Park with regards to new additions, but director of rugby Ross Stewart has been busy behind the scenes.
Peck is a 20-year-old prop, who arrives after spending the last two years at Ampthill.
The former Millfield School pupil has represented England at under-16 level, and Stewart said: “I worked with Henry at Northampton Saints, he was an outstanding scrummager and has the attributes that we want in a young prop and player.
“He wants to step up to the next level, and he has seen at Cambridge that we have given players the opportunities.
“I’m looking forward to working with him again.
“He is an old school pro that starts with scrummaging, so it will be good for him here and take him out of his comfort zone and draw him out a little bit.
“He isn’t proven at National One but that’s our job, to give guys opportunities and we’re hoping we get a gem out of it.”
Peres is a 26-year-old scrum-half, who has previously been with Bury St Edmunds.
Injury impacted his game time at the end of last season, but he featured in Bury’s victory over Cambridge at the end of the 2015/16 campaign.
“He is very quick, likes to run with the ball and will certainly bring a tempo to our game from the base of the scrum,” said Stewart.
“We have to not just attack wide but be threats around [the fringes].
“He has that bit more experience and brings pace to the game – and with his sevens experience, his core skills are very good.
“One thing you get with a sevens player is those core skills, they are very good defensively and they understand the game very well.
“Matt Hema spoke very highly of him and they always say the best people to get advice on players is players.”
Keenan is 23 and another scrum-half, who joins from Olney.
A former Bedford School pupil, he spent two years at North Otago in New Zealand and has had spells at Bedford, Blackheath and Ampthill, but they were disrupted by injury.
Stewart said: “He has returned back this year to get some game time under his belt.
“He is a bit more of a Jack Russell-type No 9.
“He likes the defensive work and confrontation, and is a bit more aggressive. He is very fit and shows all the attributes we’re after.
“He sees the style that we play and the opportunity for him is to get some stable training under his belt.
“The No 9s are key in defensive structures, and he thrives in that area.
“He is quick round the park and looks after himself very well and I think he will give us a buzz around the place.”
Kingdom is a back row who has just finished school, and Stewart is looking forward to bringing him into the senior set-up to work with the likes of player-coach Darren Fox.
“He has escaped the radar of the academy process but is held in very high regard around the age grade area,” said Stewart.
“Euan is a club man and he and his brother have been around the club for their junior rugby.
“We talked about keeping local people within the club and we’re trying to develop our second team so we know that it is higher than a lot of the clubs around us.
“These will be people that Darren is looking to mentor.”