Strength in depth key at Scottish
6:20am Friday 13th June 2014 in Rugby Union
London Scottish head coach James Buckland hopes the capture of Rotherham Titans second row Josh Thomas Brown and Exeter Chiefs back rower James Phillips can make his Championship top four dream a reality, writes Andy Weston.
Thomas Brown, who quit the Athletic Ground last summer, has returned to the club on a two-year deal, while Phillips makes the move after collecting extensive Premiership experience with the Chiefs and Bristol.
Scottish, who returned to pre-season training this week, are bidding to better last term’s fifth place finish – their highest league placing in 15 years – and beefed up their pack with the capture of four props and another second row this week.
Scottish looked lightweight compared to Championship winners London Welsh last term and Buckland has sought to level that playing field.
And it is the signatures of former Scotland U20 international Thomas Browna and Phillips, 26, that has the head coach dreaming of the big time.
“Josh went away to Rotherham and was one of their stand-out players last year,” Buckland said.
“He was their main line-out caller towards the end of the season and was outstanding in the play-off matches against Bristol.
“He has added some physicality to his already impressive skill-set and we are pleased to welcome back such a great character.”
“James is a big lad who takes some stopping .
“He wants to get back to the Premiership and we will give him the platform to impress.”
He added: “Both Josh and James would not look out of place in any top Championship side and we feel the pair of them can make a massive impact.”
Tighthead props Ben Prescott and Max Maidment made the switch from Cornish Pirates this week, while young loosehead props Lovejoy Chawatama, 21, and James Hallam, 23 have penned deals from Bridgewater & Albion and Newcastle Falcons respectively.
Former basketball playing second row Tai Tuisamoa, fresh from winning his sixth cap for the USA Eagles against Scotland on Saturday, is making up for lost time having only taken up rugby six years ago.
The San Diego-based Old Mission Athletic Club star signed for Scottish yesterday with the intention of securing an appearance at next year’s rugby World Cup.
“The domestic US competition does have some intense games, but is not consistently at the level of the Championship, “h e added.
“Playing in this competition will give me excellent preparation leading into the 2015 World Cup.”