Canterbury Rugby Club have announced a major boost to their squad by signing Michael Coman, a junior All Black, who played for New Zealand in the Under-19 World Championships.
The No 8 forward will be with the city club until the end of April before returning for the new season in New Zealand.
Coman, who checks in at 6ft 4ins and 17 stone, is a former Schools international and was a member of the Under-19 All Blacks side who were runners-up in the 2006 World Championships in Dubai.
The 22-year-old, who has British ancestry, is a member of the Canterbury Crusaders Development Squad. The Super-14 outfit have sent him to Kent to regain match fitness after a knee injury which sidelined him for several months.
“Michael is completely fit again but needs to get games under his belt before the new Southern Hemisphere season gets under way in May,”said city club spokesman David Haigh.
“Obviously we are delighted to have someone of his pedigree join us, particularly as we have not had a specialist No 8 this season.”
The city club’s links with their more lofty rugby namesakes helped to bring about the move. When it was felt Coman needed to get back into action, a trip to England was high on the Crusaders’ list. He is being sponsored by the Marine Travel Company.
The club plan to give Coman his first run-out in Saturday’s Kent Cup tie at Aylesford and will register him for league action the following week when Henley are the visitors to Merton Lane.
Holders Canterbury begin their defence of the Kent Cup with a visit to London League 3 South East Aylesford. The kick-off has been arranged for 1.30pm to enable players and supporters to view the England v Italy Six Nations game later in the afternoon.
The city club will be hoping for a break in the freezing weather as any postponement would add more problems to an already congested programme. After Saturday’s match they do not have a free weekend until the end of the season and must play into May to catch up on a weather disrupted league schedule.
Kent Cup rules this season will restrict Canterbury’s choice of first team players for Saturday’s second round tie.