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Squad Announcement: Front Row

28th July 2021
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As the new season looms ever closer, Director of Rugby Matt Williams is delighted to be able to start announcing the squad for the 2021/22 campaign, starting with the front row.

Looseheads

Jake Ellwood made the move to the Athletic Ground last summer, having previous played for fellow Championship rivals Ealing Trailfinders.

Jake arrived at Vallis Way before the 2018/19 season, having made a big impression on the BUCS League whilst studying BSc IT with Business and MSc Digital Marketing at Northumbria University.

Aged 25, Jake spent time at Newcastle Falcons Academy and also represented England Students.

Upon signing for Trailfinders the front-rower was loaned to National One side Chinnor, where he played the first nine games of the 2018/19 season impressing our Director of Rugby Matt Williams.

Instantly dominating the league, Trailfinders recalled him early and he went on to establish himself as a 1st XV regular; playing 20 games for the west Londoners over the next 12 months.


Scottish qualified Curtis Reynolds joined London Scottish from Welsh Premiership giants Pontypridd.

Having started his playing career at Wasps Academy, at the age of 18 he signed to the then Championship side Plymouth Albion, before moving to Gala in the Scottish Premiership.

In 2017, Curtis made the move to the Welsh Premiership, where he has been for the past three years, playing firstly for RGC North Wales for two seasons and then Pontypridd.

Born in Essex, the 25 yr old prop was brought up in Hertfordshire and is looking forward to being closer to familiar territory by playing at Scottish.


Powerful prop Maurice Nwakor arrives at London Scottish having spent the past five years at National One side Rosslyn Park.

Maurice begun his rugby career aged 11 when he joined London Oratory School. He was a self-confessed ‘late bloomer’ and only started to show his talent as he reached his mid to late teens.

While at school he also played for Enfield Ignatians in North East London. When Maurice was 18, he impressed for Enfield in a colts game against London Scottish colts and was invited down by the at the time and of the academy, Corne Du to train with Scottish’s new senior academy.

He stayed there for two seasons, including training with the first team, before moving to Rosslyn Park in 2015. He went on to play 80 times for the London club and was also awarded player of the season 2018!


Hookers

Nick Selway came to Scottish ahead of the scheduled 2020/21 season from National One side Chinnor.

Affectionally known as ‘Salad’ and standing at 6ft 2in, Nick scored 17 times during the 2019/20 campaign for the Oxfordshire based side and ended the season as the competition’s joint top try scorer.

A former tight-head prop, Salad converted to hooker in 2015 while at Jersey Reds. During his time on the island he became one of their longest serving and popular players, notching up an impressive 126 appearances over six seasons (2013/14-2018/19).


Tom Petty is a former England Counties U20s player who joined London Scottish last summer.

He was picked for the representative tour of Romania whilst studying at University College London and played two games against the Oaks.

The hooker who comes in at 6ft 1inch and 111kg then made the move to National Two (South) side Tonbridge Juddians once he had completed his studies.

After impressing while at the Kent outfit, he was signed by National One team Bishop Stortford before he made the move to Scottish last year.


Will Routledge joins us from Leeds Beckett University where he’s spent the last four years playing for them whilst completing his undergraduate and masters degrees. While he was studying at university, he impressed to such an extent that he begun playing for Yorkshire Carnegie during the 2019/20 before the coronavirus pandemic put a stop to proceedings.

Will started playing rugby at Witney RFU and Cokethorpe School before progressing through the English Counties Pathway. Before heading off to University, he spent time at National One side Chinnor before he left for Leeds.


Tightheads

Joe Rees, like Selway, also joined from Chinnor last summer. The former Wales U20s player spent three seasons at PRO14 side Ospreys, playing over 35 games. He then joined Worcester Warriors for the 2014/15 season, where he made 24 appearances before making another seven when the side were promoted back into the Premiership the following season.

He then headed to Rotherham Titans for a season, linking up with former Cardiff Blues’ coach Justin Burnell. Joe made the move to Chinnor from Merthyr Rugby where he spent two seasons whilst qualifying to become a mortgage broker. Merthyr were named The Principality Premiership Champions two seasons in a row (2017/18-2018/19).

Standing at 6ft 1inch and weighing a substantial 138kg, Joe has a fearsome reputation as a dominant, destructive set piece technician.


Alex Gibson – more commonly known as ‘Bert’ – arrives from Coventry Rugby having played there during the 2020/21 season.

Before moving to the West Midlands, Alex was committed to his home club, Hartpury, having joined their pathway aged 16.

He went on to represent the University’s BUCS Super Rugby team throughout his time studying before being awarded a first team contract in 2019.

While a student, Alex helped Hartpury win three successive BUCS Super Rugby play-off finals at Twickenham, earning himself selection for England Students in the process.


When speaking about the eight front row players confirmed to be playing for London Scottish this season, Director of Rugby Matt Williams said; “When mixing in the Dual Reg front row (to be announced soon) with the boys announced today, we’ve got a great group of front row players who will all be striving for those starting spots on a Saturday. I’m really happy with the makeup of them as well, a real mix of experience and youthful hunger, all bringing something different to the table.  

Joe Rees is not only an outstanding scrummager bringing vast experience at the highest level but he will also be my scrum coach. I’ve worked with Salad (Nick Selway) and Jake before and they always impress me – Jake had an outstanding two seasons with Ealing and Salad is a larger than life character with a real physical edge. I don’t think there will be another front row forward with as much Champ experience as him.

Curtis has a lot of game time under his belt from the Scottish and Welsh game and is comfortable eitherside of the scrum whilst Maurice has been a stand out in National One for Rosslyn Park prior to his knee injury. Gibbo (Alex Gibson) has a real hunger about him too. Last season was tough for him signing to Coventry with a big reputation after a strong campaign at Hartpury but he found game time limited. He is determined to push on again and I’m hoping Scottish is the spring board to do just that!

Finally we have two young hookers in Tom and Will, both hungry and raising their game in training. Tom is a converted prop and is really working hard in training to better himself whilst I’ve kept tabs on Will for quite some time now and he was a standout in the BUCS for Leeds Beckett. He is a very skilful rugby player and once he can physically adapt to Champ rugby I’m sure he will blossom.

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