THE Cornish Pirates have strengthened their front row ahead of the new Greene King Championship season with the signing of Cornwall prop Jamal Ford-Robinson from National Leagues side Cambridge.
The highly-rated 20-year-old has signed a two year deal at the Pirates after head coach Ian Davies made his move ahead of interest from a number of other clubs describing the capture of Ford-Robinson as “really exciting for the club”.
Bristol born Ford-Robinson grew up in Penryn beginning his rugby career at the local club before moving on to play at junior level for Redruth and Penzance.
He then spent two and a half years at the Leicester Tigers Academy before joining Cambridge last season and has since gone on to earn England Counties honours as well as starring for Cornwall in the Bill Beaumont Cup.
After scoring a memorable try in the defeat to Lancashire at Twickenham at the start of the month he travelled to Georgia with the England Counties squad and having passed a medical and putting pen to paper on his Pirates contract he reflected on what he described as “a crazy few weeks”.
He said: “My season only ended a week ago because the day after Twickenham we flew out to Georgia. That was my first proper tour and gave me a chance to get to know Paves (player-coach Alan Paver).
“To be honest one of the main selling points in coming down here was to work with Paves and Ian Davies. Spending time with Paves in Georgia gave me an insight into what he is all about and thought two years of that would be really beneficial to my game.”
Ford-Robinson’s exploits in the Bill Beaumont Cup made him a firm favourite with the Cornwall fans and he continued: “It was nice to get a bit of recognition, I admit.
“There were messages on social media from fans thanking me for my participation with Cornwall this summer and looking forward to following me wherever I play. Hopefully it will be good news for people that I’m coming back to play in Cornwall.”
And on that memorable first half try at the home of English rugby he added: “It was a pretty indescribable feeling really as you can probably tell by the celebrations which I took some stick for! I knew I would come on to make an impact and I think that was the first time I touched the ball. I had it in my head that you don’t get many chances to score at Twickenham so decided to go for it and it paid off.”
Ford-Robinson has a two week break before joining his new team mates at the start of July and with family in Penryn he doesn’t expect any problems in relocating to West Cornwall.
He said: “My Mum still lives in Penryn and I know Alex Ducker and Ben Trevaskis from being around Penryn. I was at Leicester too when Luke Jones was there so there are a few familiar faces.”
Pirates boss Davies added: “We have watched Jamal for several seasons. When he was at the Tigers we had too many props to sign him so watched him carefully when he went to Cambridge.”
“It’s great to recruit another Cornish player and hopefully two years here working closely with Alan Paver will make him a much better prop and all round rugby player.”