New backs signings for Biljon’s Reds
JERSEY REDS announced their fourth batch of new signings for the 2020/21 season today with confirmation that four outside backs – Lesley Klim, Jack Roberts, Ryan Hutler and former ‘Aussie rules’ professional Kurt Heatherley – have all agreed moves to the Island.
Namibian international Klim, who featured in the 2019 Rugby World Cup against New Zealand and South Africa, has joined the Championship club on a permanent contract having arrived at St Peter on loan from Ospreys in March of this year – prior to the onset of the coronavirus pandemic that prevented him making his debut. The 25-year-old, who is capable of covering both centre and wing, played for the Namibian side Weltwischias from 2015 to 2017 before moving to Europe for a season at Doncaster Knights. His attacking play could give Reds fans plenty of excitement at Stade Santander – should he remain out of the treatment room after struggling through a number of injury problems in recent years.
Welshman Roberts, arriving from Doncaster Knights, began his senior career with Llandovery before moving to England in 2014. The 28-year-old was with Leicester Tigers for three seasons and made 38 appearances for the club, had a loan spell at Rotherham Titans, and then returned to Wales for a season with Cardiff Blues. A former age-group representative for Wales, Roberts can also play centre or wing.
Someone who has been active of late, Hutler was one of the top try-scorers in last season’s Greene King IPA Championship, with nine scores to his name during the abbreviated campaign for Bedford Blues. One of those was the opener in the Blues’ narrow 27-25 victory over Jersey at Godlington Road in February. The 22-year-old winger helped Bishop’s Stortford win promotion to National One in 2017/18 while on loan.
Finally, Heatherley moves to Jersey having spent the majority of his career practising the fine arts of an entirely different football code – as a professional Aussie rules footballer playing for the famous Hawthorn club in Melbourne. The 25-year-old, who was born in Tauranga in New Zealand, became the first Kiwi-born-and-raised player to debut in the AFL but only featured in five games. He returned to his native country in 2019 and switched codes to sign for Auckland Blues in the Mitre 10 Cup. He made just two starts for the club and arrives in Jersey with raw potential.
Reds director of rugby Harvey Biljon said: ‘This is an exciting quartet, no doubt about it. Lesley and Jack are both experienced players who have the potential to become key parts of our squad. Supporters will be excited to see them in action, as well as by Kurt’s aerial skills and Ryan’s proven ability as a try-scorer.’
The latest signings join the 11 new faces already unveiled by the club this week and the 15 players retained from the Reds’ 2019-20 squad. Those named since Wednesday include hooker George Edgson, props Ollie Dawe, Jack Higgins and Ciaran Parker, locks Zak Farrance, Shay Kerry and Sean O’Connor, flanker Lewis Wynne, scrum-halves Michael Dowsett and James Elliott, and fly-half Sam Leeming.
Further announcements are due next week.
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