By Phil Westren

THE Cornish Pirates have signed two new forwards for the 2024/25 Championship campaign.

Lock forward Charlie Rice, who last season made one appearance for the Cornish Pirates when on a short-term loan from Bristol Bears, has put pen to paper on a full-time contract.

Aged 21, Bristol-born Charlie is a former SGS Filton College student, and England under 18s and 20s lock forward, who has previously played for clubs including Gordano Sharks and for Hartpury in the Championship. Also, just ahead of joining the Pirates, he played for Sumner RFC in New Zealand.

Pleased to capture Charlie’s signature, Cornish Pirates’ joint head coach Alan Paver has commented: “Charlie is a talented forward who has played a good amount of senior rugby, and we are particularly delighted to welcome him on board.

“Still very much a young man, and one able to play that physical role, he is another player with a great profile.”

Also joining is Irish prop James French.

Cork-born James, aged 25, who of interest is a former All-Ireland schoolboy shotput champion, attended Bandon Grammar School and began playing rugby as a centre, before transitioning to the back-row, and, finally, to prop. 

Selected and competing for Ireland in the 2018 Six Nations Under 20s Championship, in the same year James joined the Munster academy before being promoted to the senior squad on a one-year contract ahead of the 2021-22 season. He made his senior competitive debut away to Wasps in the Champions Cup and then, after signing a two-year contract extension in January 2022, had the opportunity to next sign for Ulster, from where he joins the Cornish Pirates. 

Cornish Pirates’ joint head coach Alan Paver, who is looking forward to working with James, has commented: “James has a great profile and although still a young man has been in some top-class environments.”