ST IVES have pulled off the coup of the summer by signing former Cornish Pirates fly-half Ceiron Thomas as their new player-backs coach, The Cornishman can reveal.
It is only just over a year since Thomas was playing for Leeds Carnegie in the Premiership, and he made 24 appearances for the Pirates last season, featuring in the first leg of the RFU Championship final against London Welsh a month ago.
But he was released by the Cornishmen at the end of the campaign, and has now decided to drop a massive six divisions and join a club who have suffered back-to-back relegations and will start the new season in the Cornwall and Devon League – only two rungs off the bottom of the English rugby pyramid.
The 28-year-old former Llanelli Scarlets stand-off, who has just started a new job in Cornwall, will join the current coaching team at Alexandra Road of senior coach Joff Rowe and forwards coach Rob Elloway, who was Thomas's Pirates' team-mate at the Mennaye Field and still plays for the Championship club.
A thrilled Rowe said: "I am absolutely over the moon at Ceiron joining us. I am extremely pleased.
"We want to make this a very special 125th anniversary year for St Ives Rugby Club, and signing someone with the credentials that Ceiron has got and bringing a Championship fly-half into the Cornwall and Devon League will give everyone a huge lift.
"He will help the development of the club and the future of the club, and give us some stability and progress in our back play, and fulfil his role as a player, but also look at our recruitment process, within the town and the local area, and that is important.
"What I can guarantee is that St Ives Rugby Club are not financing Ceiron to come to us."
Rowe added: "We had a particularly bad season last year, though in one respect it was a successful year because we maintained rugby at the club.
"This pre-season I have had the opportunity to think about where we need to go, and how we need to get there, and one of our priorities was we desperately needed a support backs coach, and the best option seemed to be to get a player-coach, and I approached Ceiron.
"What he will bring to us is not about success in relation to promotion. He will give us the foundation to build our youth and junior section, and our colts."
Rowe hopes the arrival of Thomas, who has played for Wales at under-16, 18, 19 and 21 level, will persuade other players to join the Hakes.
However, he said the success of the move would not be judged on whether the club won promotion back to Western Counties West.
"I hope we learn from the experience of someone like Ceiron, and I hope that will bring other local players to the club," said Rowe.
"He fits into not only a playing role and a coaching role, but also a mentoring role and a pivotal recruitment role.
"If we get promotion, then so be it, but if we don't but we get more wins than last season and get a side together to move on in the table that is predominantly St Ives based, that will also be a success."
Thomas explains switch to St Ives, see Page 85.