Bury Rugby Club bring in duo
Gavin Hogg is hopeful he has addressed Bury St Edmunds’ Achilles heel by swooping to bring in two new specialist second-row players, including the son of an ex-New Zealand captain.
The Wolfpack have been having to play a number of players out of position just to make up the numbers in the lineout and scrum this season.
But after Ben Turner put in a man-of-the-match performance in his first game since a loan move from Taunton Titans at the end of last week, Bury have also brought in Louis Whetton, the son of former All Blacks skipper Gary.
The latter is said to still be a couple of weeks away from playing after just returning to full contact training following a knee operation, but his arrival will provide a welcome boost as Bury look to avoid three straight defeats from a daunting trip to league leaders Chinnor tomorrow (3pm).
“Second-row is an area that has been under-resourced since the start of the season,” said director of rugby Hogg.
“We had gone down to Henley with a prop-forward playing there and so it is actually nice to bring in someone of Ben’s quality.
“He is experienced at this level and is a bit of an older head to add experience.
“We will have Louis Whetton as well, who is another second-row from New Zealand, so hopefully we can get him up to speed in the next couple of weeks and then we are suddenly choosing from two second-rows that are specialists.
“Hopefully that will add a bit to our lineout and a bit to our scrum as well.”
Whetton’s father Gary made 58 test appearances for the All Blacks at lock, 15 as captain, from 1981-1991 and is the twin brother of fellow New Zealand player Alan.
Of his newest recruit, Hogg added: “Louis comes over with a UK passport and has signed for us for this season and next.
“He is a New Zealand player from North Harbour region and had played a bit of under-20s representative rugby a few years back and is just looking to sample a different style of rugby.”
The Wolfpack went down to their first home defeat of the campaign on Saturday, losing 35-22 at home to Redruth which saw them drop to mid-table (eighth).“We have got to turn the corner and we have got to turn it quickly,” said Hogg.
“We do not want to find ourselves in a situation like we were in last year where we are getting pulled in towards the bottom of the table.”
Of the trip to Chinnor, who have won all seven of their games, he added: “They are a side who have recruited massively and have a side that is probably capable of competing in National One, if not above. It is one where we are going to have to stand up and be counted, or it could turn out to be a bad day at the office.”
Sam Sterling (ankle) is ruled out while Pierre Peres is another two weeks away from training after a stress fracture in his ankle and Darren Gillespie (also ankle) is said to be three or four weeks from a return.
Maku Koroiyadi is back available and will return to play at number eight, with Matt Edison moving back into the second-row and Liam McBride (hamstring) is also set to return.