Darryl Veenendaal makes it a magnificent seven summer signings for Cambridge Rugby Club
Darryl Veenendaal has completed the Cambridge Rugby Club squad after becoming their seventh signing of the summer.
The 30-year-old former Bedford Blues and Nottingham scrum-half is the seventh new signing, finishing the jigsaw for 2020/21.
And his arrival will offer multiple benefits to the club, according to director of rugby Richie Williams.
Veenendaal already had connections to the club having been a team-mate of fly-half Lawrence Rayner at Nottingham, godfather to one of former club captain and now third-team coach Stefan Liebenberg’s sons, and his brother, De La Rey, having played at Volac Park.
Williams already has Kieran Duffin and Fin Creighton competing for the No 9 shirt, and that was something that he balanced before deciding to bring in Veenendaal.
“On one hand I was pretty mindful that we’ve got two very good scrum-halves in Kieran and Fin but then on the other hand I know that Darryl is a character and a player that will support the learning of those two scrum-halves,” said the coach.
“Looking slightly longer-term, I would like to think that there would be a place for Darryl in a coaching capacity moving forwards as well.
“I think we will still get a lot from Darryl as a player but also as a coaching team we will learn a lot from him around how we’re going to attack next season, and certainly how we can manage a game looking at it from the scrum-halves’ perspective.
“I think it’s a really good fit for how we want to try to progress as a club and a first-team.”
Veenendaal has made more than 250 appearances in the Championship, and last season was backs and attack player-coach at Ampthill.
“Darryl got in touch with me just as we were going into lockdown,” said Williams.
“He was enquiring as to whether there would be an opportunity to come and play at the club and do some coaching as well in the future.
“We explained the direction we were going in as a club, and I think we’d be really foolish not to use someone like Darryl.
“He would still like to play for a few seasons so we’ve got the best of both worlds with him.”
Veenendaal is the seventh new signing for Cambridge ahead of the 2020/21 National League One season.
He follows in the footsteps of Ben Brownlie, Anthony Maka, Rob Langley, Billy Walker, Jonty Rawcliffe and Marc Koteczky, and completes the list of new additions.
“We’ve got a squad of 32 players which is a little bit less than last season but there are a number of new players who are going to play for the Wanderers’ team initially, a lot of good young players that we’re going to develop,” said Williams.
“We’re really happy with the new guys that have come in, and I think all of them will add value to what we’re trying to do and put pressure on the current squad we’ve got.”
He added: “It would just be nice to get some form of rugby now to look at those boys on the field playing competitive games.”