Jake Parker and Joe Atkinson are both back row forwards and are moving to Pirates for the forthcoming 2013-14 season, once they have completed their studies at Loughborough.
Truro born Jake Parker is returning back to his home county. A fine performer for the Students, Sports Scholar Jake studied sport science with management at undergraduate level and is now finishing an MSc in International Management.
Jake said: “The last four years at Loughborough has really developed my game, having the opportunity to play in National Leagues 1 and 2 has been a great experience and will hopefully stand me in good stead making the step up to the Championship next year.
“The Loughborough programme has enabled me to train almost professionally while also getting a highly respected degree that will be important in life beyond rugby.”
Joe Atkinson, who is studying for a BSc in Geography, is a flanker in the back-row. Speaking about his signing to the Pirates Joe said:
“Loughborough University has been great for my rugby development and playing national league rugby whilst working towards a degree in geography. Loughborough’s professional environment and world class facilities have provided the essentials to move me to this next step in my rugby career.”
The signings are a further development of the good relationship that exists between the two clubs. The Students played the Pirates in a pre-season fixture back in August 2012, and alumni Phil Burgess and Grant Pointer have both represented the Cornish side.
Dave Morris, Head Coach of Loughborough Students Rugby, said: “I am delighted to see that Jake and Joe have signed professional contracts with Cornish Pirates. I have known their Head Coach Ian Davies for a long time and we were both on the RFU Level 4 course together. We arranged for Jake and Joe to spend a week training with Pirates earlier in the season with a view to sourcing exit routes into the professional game.
“Joe is an outstanding athlete who is our top try scorer in National 1 this season. Jake has been one of Loughborough’s outstanding performers for a number of years and one of the most selfless players I have had the privilege of coaching. Both are outstanding young men and everyone at Loughborough Students RFC is very proud of their achievements.
“We know the Pirates environment will be a good one for both players to continue their rugby development as has been demonstrated by former Loughborough players Phil Burgess and Grant Pointer.
“For me the signings further demonstrate how our rugby programme at Loughborough gives up and coming players the right environment to further progress their rugby careers whilst studying for an excellent degree.”
Loughborough Students have had an impressive first season in the English National League 1. With two matches to go, the team have so won 13 matches and cemented their place in the league for next season.
There has also been good news for Students’ winger Callum Wilson, who recently signed for the England Sevens squad, and former player Fraser Balmain, who was voted the Players Young Player of the Year in his first season at Leicester Tigers.