Cambridge Rugby Head Coach Richie Williams has today named the hookers that will make up the remainder of his front row for the 2023-24 season. New signing Morgan Veness is added to the mix along with welcome returns from Ben Brownlie, Willie Priestley and Corey Lewis.
Making his Blood and Sand debut this season will be 21-year-old Morgan Veness who joins Cambridge Rugby from fellow Championship side Ealing Trailfinders, where he made his first Championship appearance last season. Balancing his studies at Brunel University along with training Morgan was also a key figure in the Wales U20’s 6 Nations squad, playing in all five games during the 2021/22 season.
Head Coach Richie Williams commented;
“Morgan is the right age profile that we are looking for as we begin our journey into the Championship. He is a player that has huge potential and one that I feel we can continue to support in his development.
He has gained significant experience in both Championship and National 1 rugby and has the all-round game that will further enhance our squad. He has settled into pre-season really well and brings a huge amount of energy to every session.”
Listen to Morgan chatting to Jacko here:
Williams also expressed the importance of maintaining balance with the Hookers in this year’s squad and ‘believes that we already have three players that are complimenting the game model really well’ with Veness the final addition to the quartet.
Returning to the side and also the leadership group is 29-year-old Ben Brownlie, who is also no stranger to Championship Rugby having plied his trade for Nottingham in previous seasons;
“Ben Brownlie has been one of our standout performers over the past few seasons since returning to us from Nottingham Rugby. He has quickly become a crowd favourite and has been the 2nd top try scorer in the league for the past two seasons.
“He has amassed an impressive 58 tries in 73 appearances, often the beneficiary to our strong driving maul. He is an integral part of our senior leadership group and drives a lot of our on-field standards. I very much look forward to seeing him back in the Championship.” Williams said.
Listen to Ben speaking with Jacko here:
Joining Brownlie and Veness is Willie Priestley who joined Cambridge Rugby for the first time in 2019;
“Next up is the reliable Willie Priestley who has now made 59 appearances for the club since arriving a few seasons ago. I admire the work ethic and drive of Willie and as a result, he started a number of games at the beginning of last season.
He has shown a real desire to refine aspects of his game and is now a pretty consistent performer. He has developed both his attacking and defensive game in phase play and will be keen to show case this growth over the forthcoming season.”
The final hooker to be retained is Corey Lewis. Corey arrived at Cambridge at the beginning of the 2021-22 season from Ampthill, after playing University Rugby at Cardiff Met and representing England Students.
Williams spoke highly of the importance Lewis brings to the squad and the opportunities ahead of him;
“Corey has made 15 appearances and will want to impose himself at this next level. He is a hugely popular member of the playing group and despite not featuring as much as he would have liked last season, he continued to prepare the team in a positive and professional manner. This is an important season for Corey as he looks to establish himself as a Championship player.”
Today’s announcements are the latest in an upcoming string of squad reveals before the season gets underway in early October. Keep your eyes peeled across the coming days as the remainder of the squad is unveiled.