It has been a busy off-season already with the vast majority of First XV players re-signing for next season, along with a number of new additions. Below are a few of the articles covering the signings for next season.
We are pleased to announce that HRUFC have signed inside centre Mark Pease from Sandal. We have also signed winger/fullback Kristian Sharples from Otley RUFC.
Elliot Hodgson agrees new contract at Huddersfield Rugby Union Club
Fantastic signing says head coach Gareth Lewis
Huddersfield Rugby Union club have re-signed a match-winner looking to rediscover his ‘X factor’ next season.
The man in question is fleet-footed centre Elliot Hodgson, who has been challenged to take National III North apart.
Head coach Gareth Lewis has agreed terms for 2016-17 with the former Huddersfield Giants rugby league player and also with fellow centre Tom Owen.
It’s great news as the bulk of the Lockwood Park squad are already in place, and Lewis feels Hodgson, in particular, has a point to prove after this season’s club relegation.
“Obviously I’m delighted Elliot has chosen to sign a new deal and clearly he is at home playing his rugby at Lockwood Park,” said the boss.
“On his day, Elliot is one of the best broken-field runners at this level and has real X factor.
“However, if we’re all being honest, we have not seen it enough over the course of the season.
“Elliot must lead the way on the pitch in terms of performance level and aim to be one of the best players in National Three next season.”
Owen also has the attitude and versatility the club are looking to foster.
“Tom is a fantastic example of a player who has come through the age grade at Lockwood Park and developed into an established member of the Huddersfield squad,” explained Lewis.
“He has outstanding an attitude towards his rugby and sets the standard in terms of his approach to training and on game day.
“He has filled a role at inside centre over the last few seasons but sees himself best suited to the outside position.
“Tom gives us options and, as a coach, that is what you’re looking for. Its great news that he’s signed a new contract.”
Hodgson and Owen will be in a squad whose strength and conditioning work will be overseen next season by Matt Green.
Head trainer and co-owner of Extreme Conditioning, Green has been in the industry for eight years and previously worked at Huddersfield Giants.
“I firmly believe the squad was not fit enough throughout the course of the season,” said Lewis.
“Our discipline, ability to defend and make decisions under fatigue were all contributing factors in this season’s narrow defeats.
“Knowing Matt, he will challenge the boys in a tough pre-season but make it enjoyable at the same time. It promises to be a fantastic summer at Lockwood Park.”
Yorkshire trio re-sign for Huddersfield Rugby Union Club
Highly-rated front row Reuben Pollard joins as well
Huddersfield RU have re-signed their trio of Yorkshire Under 20 players for next season – and recruited a highly-recommended front row forward.
Fly half Chris Bell, back row Lewis Bradley and versatile full back Lewis Workman have all agreed terms for next season at Lockwood Park.
And joining them in National III North will be Reuben Pollard, who has been snapped up by head coach Gareth Lewis from Old Crossleyans.
Lewis explained: “I’m delighted Chris Bell has re-signed. He is a talented rugby player and is gaining plenty of recognition for both Yorkshire and the North Under 20s.
“Hopefully he can gain selection for the England Counties Under 20s tour later this summer.
“His goal-kicking percentage is right up there with the top points scorers in the league, and fingers crossed he can improve on this again for next season.
“Chris has a first-class attitude and sets the bar for others to follow.”
Lewis believes County Under 20s Bradley and Workman have shown up well despite Huddersfield’s relegation from National II North.
“One of the few positives we can take from this season is what Lewis Bradley has done,” said the coach.
“At just 18 years of age he belies his years in terms of how he plays plays the game.
“He is tough, physical, competitive, ambitious and wants to learn.
“Clearly there are aspects to his game which we will look to develop during the off season, but this is fantastic news and shows our philosophy of backing these youngsters to bounce back.
“With Lewis Workman, he has had a solid season and will learn a lot from a tough campaign, physically and mentally.
“He looks comfortable at full back, but he has nailed his flag to the mast and made the inside centre position his priority.
“For a young lad, he has all the physical attributes and, with a big off season, he will no doubt improve further.
“Its an another great example of an academy player coming through the ranks and developing into an established first-team player.”
Pollard, who started out at Old Rishworthians and was educated at Ryburn Valley High, is 22 and is 6ft 1in tall.
He weighs in at 16 stones and Lewis reckons he will make a big impact.
“Reuben is a bit of an unknown quantity but has a fantastic attitude towards his rugby and wants to learn,” explained Lewis.
“He’s been the stand-out player in a struggling Old Crossleyans team and is ready for a fresh start.
“He comes highly recommended by former Halifax RUFC coach Kevin McCallion – and I trust his judgement.
“With the specialist scrummaging coaching we have planned with Yorkshire Carnegie, I think he will add some real competition to an already strong front row.”
Huddersfield have already agreed terms with Joel Hinchliffe, Dan Jeffrey, Adam Tamanis, Tom Kanouras, Nick Rhodes, Austen Thompson, Gavin Rhodes, Adam Malthouse, Declan Thompson, Henry Ward, Ben Morrill, Elliot Knight, Ben Hoyle and skipper Alex Battye.
And talks are still going on with a handful of players as Field plan to go straight back up.
Huddersfield RU re-sign four key men including captain Alex Battye
Ben Morrill, Elliot Knight and Ben Hoyle also back at Lockwood Park next season
Huddersfield RU have re-signed four key players for next season – including captain Alex Battye.
The front row took over the reins from suspended Nick Sharpe midway through the season and will lead the side next term.
Also confirmed as returning to Lockwood Park for what will be a National III North campaign are Ben Morrill, winger Elliot Knight and openside flanker Ben Hoyle.
It’s great news ahead of the National II trip to Preston Grasshoppers and head coach Gareth Lewis expects to confirm more signings soon.
“We are delighted these lads will be in the squad for 2016-17 as they are all vital cogs in the team and all crowd pleasers in their different ways,” said Lewis.
Alex Battye is captain of Huddersfield Rugby Union Club and has signed a new deal
“It’s great that Alex Battye will be leading the side again next season.
“In Nick’s absence he has grown into the captaincy role and has the full backing of everyone connected with the club.
“I know he will set the benchmark for others to follow when we get to pre-season, both on and off the field.”
Morrill, Knight and Hoyle are not available for the Preston trip, which is Huddersfield’s third last of the season.
“Ben Hoyle has had another excellent season,” added Lewis.
“He punches well above his game, gets under the opposition’s skin, handles as well as any back and now leads the lineout, so you can see his value to the team.
“Ben Morrill is slowly getting back to full fitness and has obviously been a major loss to us this season.
“He is clearly a crowd favourite and it will be great to see him in action again next season.
“With Elliot Knight, he has a fantastic attitude and it’s players such as him that the club is built around.
“He has had a frustrating season this time, but I’m sure he’ll be fighting for the wing position next season.”
Huddersfield Rugby Union club re-sign their ‘heartbeat’ and ‘find of the season’
Five more influential players put pen to paper
Huddersfield Rugby Union Club have got more key positions nailed down for next season by signing five more influential players.
Half-backs Joel Hinchliffe and Dan Jeffrey have agreed terms for 2016-17 in National III North, while also putting pen to paper are loose head prop Adam Tamanis, centre Tom Kanouras and forward Nick Rhodes.
Head coach Gareth Lewis, who is in talks with other younger members of the squad, is pleased the quintet have committed to stay for a bid to win back immediate promotion.
“Joel Hinchliffe is very much the heartbeat of the club,” said Lewis, preparing his side for their final National II North match of the season at South Leicester.
“I have seen him develop as a player since my Halifax days into a very good half back and an outstanding leader.
“He is comfortable at both 9 and 10, and is a very reliable goal kicker. His commitment to training on the field is second to none and just to see him down on a Sunday morning presenting medals to the youngsters at the mini age grade festival is the mark of the man.
“Joel brings experience to a young side, which will definitely be required next season.”
Dan Jeffrey will again be pulling on the white, claret and gold shirt and Lewis added: “DJ is the model professional in the way he approaches his rugby and is the benchmark for all to follow in terms of strength and conditioning.
Huddersfield RFU half back Dan Jeffrey
“His recent performance against Caldy showed the class he has, but he must do it on a more consistent basis next season.”
Lewis expects Adam Tamanis to make a big impact in National III.
“Despite our disappointing season, Adam is back enjoying his rugby again and, at just 22 years of age, he has a very bright future,” said the coach.
“In many ways he had a lot to take on at a young age, being in a fully-professional environment at Doncaster Knights and then suffering a potential career threatening neck injury.
“However, he has worked hard on his rehab, been patient to get a chance and really stepped up to the plate through January and February in terms of performance.
“With a tough pre-season in the bag, I’m expecting big things from Adam next season.”
Already back at Lockwood Park next season are county player Austen Thompson, Gavin Rhodes, Adam Malthouse, Declan Thompson, Henry Ward, Ben Morrill, Elliot Knight, Ben Hoyle and skipper Alex Battye.
Lewis is delighted Nick Rhodes and Kanouras will be joining the squad.
Huddersfield RU coach Gareth Lewis.
“Nick has come of age this season in terms of the line-out and leadership and he has the developed his ability to pick some great lines in attack,” explained Lewis.
“Although not a local lad, he sees this as his hometown club since joining us from the University.
“He is ultra-committed and this is the culture we are creating. We want players who are prepared to dedicate themselves to the cause and buy into the Huddersfield RUFC ethos.
“Tom Kanouras has arguably been the find of the season since joining us from Bradford and Bingley.
“He is a very tidy footballer, has great footwork and is a real character within the squad.
“By his own admission he needs a big pre-season and I’m sure he will be raring to go for the new season.”