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Gloucester Rugby sign Leeds Carnegie full-back Steve McColl

By The Citizen  |  Posted: March 27, 2014

By Mike Brown

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STEVE McColl is the latest player to join Gloucester ahead of their assault on next season’s Aviva Premiership.

With as many as 25 players due to come out of their current contracts in the summer, Nigel Davies is overseeing a major overhaul of his squad.

The majority of his Cherry and White stars have penned fresh terms and a fantastic five new signings are being announced this week.

McColl is the latest addition, making the switch from Championship high-flyers Leeds Carnegie to compete with Rob Cook for the full-back jersey at Kingsholm.

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The Scottish-born ace is renowned for his try-scoring ability and has touched down seven times in 11 appearances this season.

And Davies has little doubt that the former Edinburgh academy product, who trained with Scotland’s autumn international squad, has the ability to hit the ground running in the top flight.

Davies said: “Steve is somebody who stands out at Championship level and anyone who watches Leeds – who play a good brand of rugby and are a good team who will be competing hard to come up this year – will know he has been a big part of their success.

“He’s very strong, a very powerful runner from deep, who hits good lines and was part of the Edinburgh academy at one stage but moved to get more opportunities.

“As a result of playing in the Championship he’s gained a lot of experience and shown his quality.

“I’m very excited about this guy, both him and Mark (Atkinson) can make the step up from the Championship and be a huge success.

“It helps his game that he’s playing with a very strong side, he plays behind a good pack of forwards that get on the front foot but he’s been very effective, he’s got good stature and is really explosive.”

McColl needs to look no further than his rival for the number 15 jersey next season for inspiration and a blueprint to make the jump from Championship to Premiership.

Cook was Davies’ first signing at Kingsholm and has been a major success since making the switch from the Cornish Pirates.

The 29-year-old has become a Cherry and White crowd favourite and established himself in the starting line-up following the premature retirement of Olly Morgan.

And the Gloucester director of rugby has little doubt that both McColl, and Atkinson, who signed from Bedford Blues on Tuesday, will enjoy similar success.

Davies said: “Rob has been great. He was my first signing really and we’re absolutely delighted with the way he’s taken the step up.

“It’s been a shame for Olly, who has not played since I have been here and was such a big figure for Gloucester.

“But Rob has stepped up and done a great job and Martyn (Thomas) has competed with him as well. Martyn has shown good form over the last six months and we’re bringing in another quality player in that position.

“I’m absolutely confident that these two guys will do exactly the same .

“They will come into a full-time professional training environment, which in itself helps a lot.

“They will be managed and looked after with our medical staff and within that coaching environment I am confident that they will make a significant impact.

“They may not be the big names we have announced in the past but I’m convinced they will have an equal impact to some of the big names.”

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  • Steve_George8  |  March 28 2014, 6:55PM

    This is all well and good but what a club like Gloucester Rugby really should be doing is to ensure that Rupҽrt Hardҽn, our first choice and most talented tight head prop, starts as many games for Gloucester as is possible.

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