London Scottish will go into the 2014/15 season with arguably their strongest squad since 1998/99 – when the Club were last competing in the English Premiership.
Following the confirmation of five dual-registration signings from Harlequins last week, Scottish head into the new Greene King IPA Championship campaign with a squad of 36 players and scope to increase the pool during the season.
True to their roots north of the border, the Club will have no fewer than ten Scottish qualified players in the squad.
They include Scotland A backs Jim Thompson and Jamie Stevenson, former Scotland Under-18s captain David Cherry, who joined this summer from Currie, and Scotland U20s players Josh Thomas Brown (second-row) and Matt Heeks (scrum-half) who return to the Club for second and third spells respectively.
Flanker Neil Best is the Club’s most decorated player, the 18 capped Ireland internationalist who signed last summer from Worcester Warriors.
Another full internationalist, USA Eagles lock Tai Tuisamoa, joined London Scottish in the close season having featured in the Eagles’ Test match against Scotland last month.
Back-rower Ben Russell and winger Matt Williams have both been capped for England in the shortened format of the game as has first team captain Mark Bright who helped England win the Sevens Plate competition at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow on Sunday.
This summer has witnessed an exciting crop of new signings joining the Club, as others head for pastures new.
In total there are 18 new recruits who will be complemented by the Harlequins dual-registered players including centre Harry Sloan and back-rower James Chisholm who were both part of this year’s England U20 Junior World Cup winning squad.
17 players from last season’s squad departed over the summer.
London Scottish Director of Rugby, Mike Friday, said: “The players that left did a fantastic job last season.
“On behalf of everyone at London Scottish, I would like to thank them all for their contribution to the Club on this Incredible Journey we are on.
“We needed to evolve the squad and that’s what we have done over the past few months.
“We are very excited with the make-up of this new squad. There is a good blend between a physical, gritty and resilient front five, complemented by some additions to what is already a quality back-row.
“We have also added some significant firepower to the back division and I’m excited to see how they develop over the course of the new season.”
London Scottish Chairman, Sir David Reid, said: “It has been an Incredible Journey at London Scottish, climbing back up the leagues from the tenth tier of English rugby to the Greene King IPA Championship, culminating last season in our highest league finish for more than 15 years.
“With success comes recognition and we were delighted that both Tomas Francis (Exeter Chiefs) and Eric Fry (Newcastle Falcons) made the step up to the Premiership this summer and we wish them the very best of luck.
“We are also absolutely thrilled for our first team captain Mark Bright who was part of the England Sevens side which finished fifth at the Commonwealth Games.”
He continued: “There is further work to be done at London Scottish, however, and we have invested significantly in the playing squad, backroom staff and our Academy over the summer as we look to make the breakthrough into the Greene King IPA Championship's top four and develop future stars of tomorrow.
“We would very much like more support as we continue our exciting journey back to the top of English rugby and I would urge any potential new fans, investors or sponsors to join us.”
For enquiries, please contact London Scottish Chief executive, Kenny Baillie on firstname.lastname@example.org
London Scottish 2014/15 squad.
Ben Calder (Bedford Blues, scrum-half ), Honours Wales U18, England U16, London and South East U16 and U18, Hertfordshire U14, 15, 16 & 18
Lovejoy Chawatama (Bridgwater & Albion, prop) Honours, England Students
David Cherry (Currie, hooker, Scottish qualified) Honours, Scotland U17, 18, 19 & 20
Errie Claassens (Bristol Rugby, full-back/wing) Honours, Free State Cheetahs
Ross Doneghan (Darlington Mowden Park, hooker, Scottish qualified) Honours, Border Bulldogs
James Hallam (Newcastle Falcons, prop) Honours, Cornwall
Matt Heeks (Rosslyn Park, scrum-half, Scottish qualified) Honours, Scotland U18, 19 & 20. London Scottish caps, 31
Peter Lydon (Stade Francais, stand-off/centre) Honours, Leinster U18,19 & 20
Stewart Maguire (Esher, prop), Honours, Ireland U20
Max Maidment (Cornish Pirates, prop) Honours, England Students
James Phillips (Exeter Chiefs, back-row) Honours, England U16 & 18
Adam Preocanin (Ealing Trailfinders, lock/back-row) Honours, England U18
Ben Prescott (Cornish Pirates, prop, Scottish qualified) Honours, Scottish Students & U18s
Fred Silcock (Jersey, back-row) Honours, Cheshire
Josh Thomas Brown (Rotherham Titans, lock, Scottish qualified), Honours, Scotland U18,19 & 20. London Scottish caps, 59
Tai Tuisamoa (Old Mission Beach Athletic Club, lock) Honours, USA Eagles (3 caps)
Matt Williams (Moseley, winger) Honours, England 7s
Mark Lilley (Bristol, prop) Honours, Somerset
Mike Doneghan, (wing/centre, Scottish qualified) Honours, Scotland U18,19 & 20. London Scottish caps, 26
Oli Grove, (centre, Scottish qualified) Honours, Scotland U20. London Scottish caps, 60
Miles Mantella, (winger) London Scottish caps, 44
Lee Millar (stand-off, Scottish qualified) Honours, Scotland Club XV. London Scottish caps, 21
Dan Newton, (stand-off) Honours, Wales U16 & 20. London Scottish caps, 26
Chevvy Pennycook (back-row), Honours, England U18, 19 & 20. London Scottish caps, 42
Ben Russell (back-row), Honours, England 7s, U18 & 20. London Scottish caps, 32
Jamie Stevenson (scrum-half, Scottish qualified), Honours, Scotland A, U18 & 20. London Scottish caps, 29
Neil Best (back-row), Honours, Ireland (18 caps). London Scottish caps, 22
Mark Bright (back-row), Honours, England 7s, Nelsons Bay, Cornwall. London Scottish caps, 70
PJ Gidlow (centre), Honours, Cornwall. London Scottish caps, 48
Adam Kwasnicki (hooker), Honours, England U18. London Scottish caps, 91
Jim Thompson (full-back, Scottish qualified), Honours, Scotland A, Scotland 7s, Barbarians. London Scottish caps, 51
Dual-Registered from Harlequins:
James Chisholm (back-row) Honours, England U18, 19 & 20
George Merrick (second-row) Honours, England U18, 19 & 20
Harry Sloan (centre) Honours, England U18 & 20
Sam Stuart (scrum-half) Honours England U18,19 & 20
Sam Twomey (second-row) Honours, England U16, 18, 19 & 20
Lewis Calder (retired from professional rugby)
Tomas Francis (Exeter Chiefs)
Eric Fry (Newcastle Falcons)
Pete Homan (Plymouth Albion)
Tyler Hotson (Doncaster Knights)
Mark Irish (retired from professional rugby)
Jamie Kilbane (Ealing Trailfinders)
David Lyons (East Grinstead, retired from full-time rugby)
James Love (Ealing Trailfinders)
Dante Mama (Rosslyn Park)
Jordi Pasqualin (Old Albanian)
Andy Reay (Ealing Trailfinders)
Robbie Shaw (Esher)
Tommy Spinks (Glasgow Warriors)
Paul Spivey (Ealing Trailfinders)
Tedd Stagg (Plymouth Albion)
Lewis Thiede (Rotherham Titans)