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As the Cornish Pirates continue to name squad members who have signed one-year contracts for next season, young duo Joe Elderkin and Cornishman AJ Cant are the latest to be announced.
Centre Joe Elderkin, who has to date made 18 appearances for the club, has signed a one year contract to remain with the Pirates.
Now aged 23, Exeter-born Joe made a first appearance for the Pirates in a pre-season friendly played against Exeter Chiefs in 2017, whilst in May 2021, prior to signing for this season, he featured as a replacement in the league fixture at home to Hartpury.
A former Truro School, Truro RFC youth, and Exeter University player, Joe has represented Exeter Chiefs under 18s/Academy, has featured for the Chiefs in the Singha 7s, and for the Exeter Braves team. He has also played for Redruth, Plymouth Albion, and for Cornwall, and but for Covid would have played for England Students in 2020, which was a year when he was a BUCS Super Rugby Fans nominee, plus Exeter University’s ‘Player of the Year’ and ‘Players’ Player of the Year’.
Cornish Pirates’ joint head coach Gavin Cattle has spoken highly of Joe, saying:
“Joe has really taken his opportunity well this season, from his first start in the home win against Ealing Trailfinders he made his mark and didn’t look back from there.
“A well-rounded player, Joe’s collision has improved, however it is his vision that is also a real strength as well.”
“Signing again could hopefully be a big follow up year for him.”
Wing/full-back, AJ Cant has also signed a one year deal. Now aged 23, AJ has made 59 appearances for the club, playing his early rugby for Perranporth and then Truro College, including competing in their team at the Japan World Sanix Tournament in 2016. He has also in the past represented Exeter Chiefs under 18s, whilst he made his debut for the Cornish Pirates against the Chiefs in a pre-season match played at Sandy Park in 2017.
In his first two years with the Pirates, AJ enjoyed regular game time developing at Redruth, and then, at the end of the 2018/19 season, he was deservedly awarded the Cornish Pirates ‘Most Improved Player’ trophy.
Pleased that AJ has once again put pen to paper, Cornish Pirates’ joint head coach Gavin Cattle has said:
“It is really pleasing that AJ will be with us next season, He is another player who has more growth to offer in his game, and I feel we’re still to see the best of him.
“Before he was injured this year, I thought he was outstanding. He definitely has the ability to perform at the next level so we are now looking forward to him proving that.”