Oldham strengthen up front-row

Date published: Wednesday, April 6, 2011

OLDHAM RL Club have moved to toughen-up their front-row with the capture last night of former Batley and Dewsbury prop Luke Stanchion.

The 25-year-old front-row man, who has signed for the remainder of the season, will have his first training session with the Roughyeds tomorrow night and will be expected to make his Oldham debut in the next match against London Skolars at Whitebank on Sunday week, April 17.

Roughyeds regard Stanchion as an experienced front-rower who will add essential know-how to the side’s engine room and take some of the strain off Jason Boults, Dave Ellison and Luke Sutton.

Said chairman Chris Hamilton: “We’ve been talking to him for several months, in fact right back to the early days of pre-season training last November.

“Other clubs were also in for him, but at that time he wasn’t able to commit himself because he was studying hard for accountancy examinations.

“He has missed his rugby, but he is ready to get back into it again now. We had kept in contact and that paid off when Luke had to decide which club he was going to join. We are naturally delighted that he has come to Oldham.

“He has played all his rugby up to now in the higher division. He is a 100-per-cent sort of prop and an honest grafter. We have a young squad, but Luke will help to take us forward and will give us vital experience.”

Originally a product of the Leeds Rhinos youth system, Stanchion was in the England Academy team that famously beat the Australian Schoolboys 33-24 on tour in 2004 to inflict their hosts’ first-ever defeat on home soil.

His fellow prop was James Graham, while others of note in the England team were Lee Smith, James Coyle, Joel Tomkins, David Allen and Harrison Hansen.

It was reported that prop-forwards Graham and Stanchion provided the platform from which English half-backs Coyle and Tomkins controlled the game.

Stanchion went on to have five successful seasons with Batley, playing 84 times for the first team, before he joined near neighbours Dewsbury for the 2010 season in which he made 21 appearances for the Rams, 18 of them in the Co-operative Championship.