Player influx to boost Jersey promotion bid

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And four more quality but unpaid imports are also expected at St Peter.

Last week it was revealed that Latu Maka’afi – the man-of the-match in Jersey’s Siam Cup victory in Guernsey – is in line to become the club’s first full-time professional.

Now it has been learned that former England Under-21 wing forward Kern Yates, who has been playing for Bradford and Bingley, will come to the Island club as a semi-pro.

And Nathan Kemp, who joined the club last season, hopes to return, also as a semi-professional.

Two un-named Australians, currently based in Brisbane and playing in the Queensland Premiership; South African fly half Graeme Thomson, who is starring for Crusaders in the Kwazulunatal Premier League, and back row Russell Holland, who played for South West Division I side Clifton, are also on their way as amateurs.

Barrie Stead, the man behind the recruitment drive, is certain that the move will win the club promotion from London South Division II and give them the chance of playing at national level.

Tongan Maka’afi and Kiwi No 8 Kemp, will be paid to play through private sponsorship arranged by Stead and have been primarily responsible for the team’s surge to third place in the final table in their first season in the division after promotion last year.

The same financial arrangements are being made to cover Yates’ pay.

Maka’afi is also a former Bradford and Bingley man while Kemp arrived from New Zealand via the UK and is currently back in his home country captaining Manawatu and training with the Kiwi squad for the Churchill Cup.

A plan to bring a fourth paid man into the St Peter ranks – Tongan international Sengili Tui’halamaka, a centre with 21 full caps – was ditched after Stead and club coach Dai Burton decided that three semi-pros in the team would be enough to clinch promotion and still leave room for locally nurtured talent to play first team rugby.

Full story in today’s JEP

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