HOMEGROWN Jersey Reds recruit Ethan Rault has revealed he used Harry Doolan as inspiration while pushing for a professional contract – having watched his childhood team-mate make a mark with the first-team squad.
Former Victoria College student Rault is among 15 new signings unveiled by the Reds ahead of the 2022/23 Championship season, doubling the number of Jerseyborn players on a contract at St Peter.
The 20-year-old second row (below) is set to join hooker Doolan in Harvey Biljon’s elite squad this summer, following academy spells with Welsh giants Scarlets and Cardiff.
Rault left the Island in 2018 to study at Llandovery College, having earned a scholarship though the country’s exile programme for Wales-qualified players.
‘I have been injured for the last couple of years and not playing much so it’s nice to have clarity on where I’m going or staying,’ said Rault, who has endured numerous injury woes in recent seasons.
‘I’m really chuffed.
‘I was at Cardiff at the start of last season and I had a double knee surgery. After that Harvey [Biljon] gave me an opportunity to come back here to do rehab with the physio team at the Reds, so I’ve been back since February.
‘It has been nice to see what a professional environment is like during that time. I was in the academy before with boys my own age but being in a senior pro environment; you can tell the difference.’
Rault, who has signed a three-year deal with the club, added: ‘I played with Harry since Year 7, at under-12s or U13s. When you’re in the Minis & Juniors you’re always looking up to the first team and saying “One day I want to play for them”, and seeing Harry play last year made me realise that I have an opportunity to do that too.
‘I’m trying to get my head down now to work hard and develop my game. I’m a bit nervous, going from a teenage environment into a full senior squad, but I’m looking forward to it.’
The Reds released details of five further signings this morning, taking the professional squad for next term up to 39 in number.
They include former Hartpury and Gloucester scrum-half Toby Venner, who spent last season on loan at Bristol, and another number nine in the shape of former England under-19 cap Jonny Law.
Fly-half Russell Bennett (23), who has spent time on loan with Wasps, has also joined, alongside Munster centre Alex McHenry.
A season-long loan deal has also been agreed with Gloucester for back-row player Josh Gray, while back-row James Dun and centre Charlie Powell have both been released on loan by Bristol.
Second-row James Scott, who played in red during the 2020/21 season, returns for another bite while Glasgow Warriors lock Hamish Bain is also confirmed.
Despite the squad now boasting more professionals than ever before, director of rugby Biljon said there could be more to come.
‘It’s exciting to have our squad more or less confirmed, with just one or two possible additions over the rest of the summer,’ he said.
‘We have an exciting mix for the campaign ahead, with a sound core of players coming back from last season and some new additions who have the potential to strengthen us further and set the base for a good season.’