All systems go as the Golds swoop for three new signings
THE University of Gloucestershire All Golds have signed Australian hooker Brendan Smith and Welsh wing duo James Gahan and Pat Evans.
Smith's grandfather Billy was Australia's leading half-back in the 1960s, playing a major role in St George Dragons' 11 consecutive Premiership title victories between 1956 and 1966.
Billy Smith also represented New South Wales and represented his country in 18 tests and eight World Cup games, one of which saw him captain the Australian side against Great Britain.
Brendan started playing for the Engadine Dragons before being selected for the St George Dragons' junior system.
From there he signed as a squad player for St George Illawara's inaugaral Toyota Cup side.
Back-to-back Premierships with Cronulla-Sutherland District rugby league side Sutherland Loftus brought him to the attention of the All Golds' head coach Brad Hepi.
"Brendan came highly recommended to me by former Castleford coach Stuart Raper," said Hepi.
"Stuart sent over a video of him in action and we went from there.
"It's great that Brendan has decided to stay with the All Golds for another season. He really brings that Australian toughness and single-mindedness to the team, and he's always positive.
"He leads by example, he knows the game well and does all the little things right, which is a great example for the others to follow.
"I knew very early on that Brendan was a player we needed to get signed up for next season. He's a real powerhouse, and alongside Steve Parry he's a player we can build a great team around."
Evans, a graduate from the Llanelli Scarlets academy, first started playing rugby league at the University of Gloucestershire in 2009.
A regular in the Wales Students side, Evans was a part of the historic Great Britain Students' Ashes victory Down Under in 2011 before signing for South Wales Scorpions in 2012.
Former Gloucester academy player Gahan first picked up rugby league with the Gloucestershire Warriors before joining the University of Gloucestershire side.
A natural try scorer, Gahan was the first player to score four tries in one game for the boys in blue and blue.
Gahan and Evans moved on to professional rugby league with the South Wales Scorpions in 2012 but returned to the University of Gloucestershire and the All Golds for their debut Championship One campaign in 2013.
All Golds chief executive officer Rob Webber feels the continued successes of the Welsh pair demonstrates the unique opportunity for progression from student rugby to the professional game the All Golds can offer:
"Both Pat and James are real success stories for the All Golds," said Webber.
"As current students they demonstrate the opportunity available to students to progress from the BUCS team into professional rugby league, and both Pat and James are perfect examples of this.
"Despite suffering with injuries in 2013, both have great attitudes and remain real assets to the All Golds."