Cochrane: ‘It will be nice to pull on a Jersey shirt again’

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The former Reds academy player has turned down a new contract with the university’s Championship squad for 2020/21 in favour of a move back home for family reasons – bringing to an end a seven-year stay in Gloucestershire which included over 40 appearances in the second tier of English rugby.

Now 24, the scrum-half has ample time to make a difference on the field at Stade Santander but that may no longer be his primary focus. Alongside commitments with Hartpury he recently founded ‘The Huddle’ in Cheltenham – a fitness and wellbeing gym – and he intends to ‘branch out’ on this side of the Channel.

‘The Island has come calling,’ said Cochrane, who made his Championship debut at Ashton Gate in 2017, against Bristol.

‘I was offered a nice contract to stay, which was lucky with boys losing contracts all over the place at the moment, but in the end we decided that now would be a good time to head back. My girlfriend is from Jersey as well so we’ve both got family there. I’ve had seven years at Hartpury and they’ve been as good as gold but they fully understood the situation.

‘We were planning on coming back in June or July and luckily we got in touch with the Jersey government and they’ve let us fly back. My tenancy ends this month and we didn’t have a place so it was a bit of panic stations when all this [Covid-19] kicked off.’

Discussing the possibility of a formal return to Reds duty under director of rugby Harvey Biljon, Cochrane said: ‘There have been talks but whether or not we come to an agreement is beyond me.

‘I would love to play for the Reds but for the moment I’ll just be starting up my gym in Jersey and I’ve been talking to De La Salle, my old school, about doing some coaching there too. I’ve been really lucky to play professionally for seven years but I’ve also got to look at something to set me up for life.

‘And I’m looking forward to playing for Athletic again – I haven’t played for them since I was 16. They’re all Jersey boys and rugby in Jersey was created on those boys. It will be nice to pull on a Jersey shirt again … weird, but nice. I’ll fly into that with the boys and if anything comes of it, great. If not I’ll crack on with the day job.’

Full story in Friday’s JEP.

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