THE APPOINTMENT of Neil Back might have stolen all the headlines at Rugby Lions this week – but former World Cup winner Will Greenwood believes new player/attack coach Launceston's Ben Gollings might just be their biggest coup yet.
Fellow World Cup winner, Back, shocked the rugby world this week when he was unveiled as the new boss of the Lions – a National League Three outfit.
Having taken charge of Leeds in the Aviva Premiership last term a drop down the rugby pyramid to the fifth tier raised more than a few eyebrows.
Former Lions player turned multi-millionaire businessman Michael Aland has set his sights on a new 30,000-seat stadium and Premiership rugby in five years.
But while Back stole the headlines, Greenwood believes the arrival of Gollings might prove to be a masterstroke for Aland and his lofty aspirations.
"I used to play with Ben Gollings at Quins and he was a great player and guy then and continued that for a lengthy career and it is a shame we won't get to see him in action in the Sevens any more," said Greenwood.
"I was sure that we hadn't seen the last of him when his contract wasn't renewed with the England Sevens squad and that he would be involved in coaching or in the game in some way.
"He was too big a talent to let go and to be out of the game for long.
"The first thing I would have been doing was to get him on the phone and giving Ben a ring about coming down to my club and Rugby Lions have done that.
"I think he still has a lot to offer, in whatever facet of the game that might be, in the Premiership and at other levels too."
Gollings' England Sevens' career came to an unexpected end last month when the long-serving skipper, who headed the Sevens World Series scoring charts with 2,652 points, was axed.
With three Commonwealth Games to his name the 31-year-old will bring a wealth of experience to the Lions ranks, both on and off the field.
And former British and Irish Lion Greenwood believes the appointment will prove to be a shrewd one.
"Ben will go down as one of the best in the Sevens game obviously for his tremendous scoring record as he has something like twice the amount of the next guy on the list and that is clearly very impressive and a great asset for any club to inherit," added Greenwood.
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