Bury St Edmunds Rugby Club have high hopes for all four of their new locally-sourced signings
Bury St Edmunds performance director Terry Sands has revealed the locally-sourced signings the club hope can follow in the footsteps of Tui Uru to a professional career in the game.
The Fijian-born No.8 was developed by Bury’s coaches over two seasons after arriving from London 2 North East side Ipswich into a powerhouse back rower that earned a dream ticket to the Premiership with Northampton Saints.
Sands hopes the new quartet, who have been offered development contracts with their Pro-Am squad (comprising of the first and second team) ahead of next season can also go on to realise their full potential with their input.
Kaselle Lee, like Uru, is a No.8 signed from Ipswich YM while twin brothers Lewis and Callum Jeffrey are both props who have been playing under-18s rugby at Colchester.
All three players are currently under 20 years of age.
Shaun Blyth is a 24-year-old full-back who was Diss’ vice captain last season, having only taken up the sport properly three years ago.
“They are all exciting prospects and it will be great to see if they have got the commitment needed to get to where they want to be as players,” said Sands. “They have got all the attributes they need to push on past Bury St Edmunds, but they have to have that commitment to both training and playing.”
He said over the course of the previous three years the club has been working with the community clubs in the area in what they see as their role as a developmental pathway club for potential future professionals.
“We want to do things properly and we have tried to speak to every club in Suffolk and Norfolk and sent thema presentation to share our vision,” he explained.
“It basically says ‘look, we are not here to rape and pillage your players, we are a developmental club and in the same way you may send one or two players to us, we are sending two or three on to other clubs, such as Tui Uru and Toby Trinder’.”
The latter also went on to break into the Saints’ first XV after a spell with Bury during the 2016/17 season.
But Uru is the benchmark for The Wolfpack’s latest new recruits, who were spotted through the work of Pro-Am general manager Ross Finlay and rugby development officer Ben Cooper.
“"Tui Uru came to us from Ipswich with very little body definition but worked hard with our strength and conditioning coaches to change all that," said Sands.
“He came to use for two whole seasons and three pre-seasons and with his commitment and effort, we were able to help him get to where is now.
“Understandably, he could not have gone to Northampton Saints and played there as he was when he came to us.
“He is an absolutely fantastic example of what we have been able to do and I hope he now goes on to play for England.”
He said part of the club’s commitment to their lower-league community neighbours was to offer them help if required.
This includes allowing their coaches to observe at training sessions and on match days or to liaise with their coaches and strength and conditioning staff for help and advice should they want to.
More by this authorRussell Claydon