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Wingers fly in to boost Plymouth Albion for new season

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: June 06, 2012

Rhodri McAtee. Picture by Simon Bryant/Pinnacle

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Plymouth Albion have added two new wingers to their squad for the 2012-13 season.

Experienced Championship back Rhodri McAtee is, as expected, moving to Brickfields after eight seasons with the Cornish Pirates.

And joining him at Brickfields next term will be young Leicester Tigers Academy flyer Tom Bowen, who has agreed a one-year deal with Albion. They will replace James Love and Tyson Lewis, who have moved on to other Championship clubs.

Albion have also signed Herbie Stupple, Jon Vickers and Paul Roberts, who had loan spells at Brickfields last term.

Back-row forward Stupple and hooker Vickers were dual registered from Exeter Chiefs, while fly-half Roberts joined Albion on loan midway through the season from Premiership club Bath.

Albion, though, have confirmed that highly-rated hooker Gareth Evans is leaving Brickfields.

Evans, who Albion developed from a back-row forward into an accomplished front-rower, is believed to be on his way to Championship title winners London Welsh.

"Gareth Evans has left," said Albion coach Nat Saumi.

"He is moving up to London because of his work.

"He has been a good servant to the club and we will miss him. He was one of our good ball carriers and a physical player."

But Saumi is delighted to have signed McAtee, Bowen, Stupple, Vickers and Roberts.

Welshman McAtee has scored more than 70 league and cup tries for the Pirates and Saumi believes his experience could be valuable at Brickfields next term.

"We signed Rhodri McAtee yesterday," said Saumi. "He is a good signing for us and spent eight years at the Pirates.

"He is 27-years-old with a lot of experience.

"He will be able to do what Sione [Tu'ipulotu] was doing with the youngsters towards the end of last season.

"Rhodri has tremendous experience in the Championship, so he will be a good addition to the squad. He also offers extra cover for scrum-half."

McAtee is set to make an early return to Mennaye Field with Albion set to face the Pirates away in their second Championship match of the season after being pencilled in to start with a home game against Doncaster. The full Championship fixture list is still to be confirmed.

Second-row Addison Lockley, however, will not be returning to his hometown club following his release from Exeter, while London Scottish's former Pirates back Ryan Westren is also not heading to Brickfields.

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