Front-row trio sign for Gloucester

Date published: January 28 2015

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Gloucester have added to their front-row strength in depth for next season with the signings of Paul Doran-Jones, Paddy McAllister and Nicky Thomas.

The trio will arrive from Harlequins, Aurillac and the Ospreys respectively.

The 2015/16 season will have a different structure than usual due to Rugby World Cup 2015. There will be no breaks in the fixture calendar once the Aviva Premiership kicks off so strength in depth will be even more important than usual.

Doran-Jones, of course, will be returning to Kingsholm having played his club rugby in Gloucester colours from 2009/2011.

It was a productive spell for the 29-year-old. He made 49 competitive appearances for the first team and earned his first caps for England. He left Gloucester for a spell with Northampton Saints before moving to Harlequins.

A former Ireland U20 international, McAllister started his career with Ballynahinch and made a big impression at Ulster, featuring regularly in the PRO12 and Heineken Cup until suffering a knee injury in 2012.

He moved to Aurillac last summer where has been coached by another former Ulster player, Jeremy Davidson.

Meanwhile, 20-year-old Nicky Thomas moves over the Severn Bridge to join Gloucester from the Ospreys.

He was part of a powerful Wales pack at the Junior World Championships in New Zealand last summer, and has progressed through the Ospreys Academy under the guidance of former Gloucester favourite Mefin Davis, earning considerable playing time with Swansea RFC.

Director of Rugby David Humphreys told the club website on Wednesday that all three will have a part to play for Gloucester next season.

“It’s very important that we have strength in depth in all positions next season, even more so than usual with the way the fixture schedule is shaping up,” he said.

“All three will bring something different to the squad. Paul is primarily a tight-head who can cover the other side of the scrum. Paddy is a loose-head who has turned out at tight-head, and Nicky is a tight-head who is very highly thought of in Wales.

“They all come here with something to prove. Paul probably played his best rugby here and will be looking to recapture that, Paddy is getting back to his best after his knee injury and Nicky is looking to get an opportunity at a senior level.

“With the players we already have under contract in the front row next season, we now have some genuine options at our disposal.”

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