London Scottish today can confirm the arrival of four new props ahead of the 2014/15 campaign with head coach James Buckland determined to make his forward pack a force to be reckoned with next season.
The new arrivals include a mixture of youth and experience as tight-heads Ben Prescott and Max Maidment arrive from Cornish Pirates alongside loose-head props Lovejoy Chawatama and James Hallam from Bridgewater & Albion and Newcastle Falcons respectively.
Former Glasgow Warrior Ben Prescott is the elder statesmen out the four and brings with him a wealth of experience playing at the top level following his four-year stint in Glasgow and spells at Northampton Saints and Leinster.
The Aberdonian was named the Championship’s best tight-head prop during a two-year stay at Rotherham Titans and having spent the 2011-12 season at Nottingham, he signed for Pirates in May 2012, adding considerable experience to the Cornish forward pack.
Joining Ben at the Athletic Ground is Cornish teammate Max Maidment.
Before his one season at Pirates, the Bath University graduate spent three years learning his trade at Bath Rugby Club’s Academy where he was coached by former British & Irish Lions lock Danny Grewcock.
During his final year of study, Max captained Bath University, his impressive performances earning him a call-up to the England Students squad.
On his two signings from Pirates, James Buckland said: “Ben has been around a while and is a top professional who keeps himself in great shape.
“He wants to play for at least another couple of years and will add vast experience to the squad.
“We like to have elder pros at the Club to try and aid the younger guys and he will certainly help in that regard.”
Buckland added: “We are really pleased to have signed Max.
“Ben told us a lot about his qualities and he has all the physical attributes to make a real difference.
“When we met Max he showed a determination to develop his game and this is a great opportunity for him.”
James Hallam joins London Scottish from Newcastle Falcons having previously spent three years at Durham University where he was part of a BUCS championship winning side that earned him England Students selection.
After graduating, the 23-year-old joined Falcons for the 2012/13 season making his debut in a friendly against Tonga and appearing in the British & Irish Cup final against Leinster ‘A’.
James was also dual-registered with Blaydon during his two-years at Newcastle Falcons and Buckland feels he has a promising future in the game.
He said: “Having worked with John Wells at Newcastle, James has developed good contact skills and they have identified him as someone with a bright future who needs to play some rugby in the Championship.
“We will put a lot of work into him over the course of the season and look to maximise his undoubted potential.”
Lovejoy Chawatama impressed last season as England Students’ first choice loose-head having converted from the back-row two years ago.
The 21-year-old began his rugby career at Beckenham when he arrived from his native Zimbabwe as a teenager, progressing up the ranks and eventually gaining recognition at county level for Kent Under-20s.
Lovejoy moved to Bridgewater & Albion two seasons ago where he switched to the front-row, impressing to such an extent that he was selected for the England Students squad at the beginning of this year.
He currently attends the University of West of England in Bristol and will continue his education whilst at London Scottish.
Buckland said: “We think Lovejoy can do a very good job for us and he comes recommended by Mark Irish who has watched his development up in the West Country.
“He has great potential, is very dynamic in his approach, and is another really enthusiastic young signing keen to learn.”