PROMISING Gloucester prop Tom Heard is the first player to be sent out on loan by new director of rugby Nigel Davies. Heard will celebrate his 19th birthday on Friday by joining Cinderford for another season in the third tier of English rugby to continue his development. The youngster will be able to learn from the likes of former Cherry and Whites front row stalwarts Andy Deacon and Lee Fortey, who are rugby director and forwards coach respectively.
Deacon was impressed with the way Heard acquitted himself last season in helping the Foresters finish eighth in National One and hopes it could lead to further Gloucester Rugby arrivals in future. “He enjoys playing at Cinderford and as part of his progression within the Gloucester framework it is important to have game time at the highest level, and with Cinderford being the second highest level in the county it makes perfect sense for all concerned,” said Deacon. “This comes as a result of the cooperation and arrangement we have with Gloucester Rugby, and we are looking at other players who could potentially benefit from playing competitive rugby in National 1 all being well and good. Following discussions with Nigel and also Andrew Stanley about Tom Heard, they were keen for him to continue his development alongside us as an upcoming and promising prop forward. He is popular at Cinderford and has a really good work ethic. “He will be coached thoroughly with the aim of affording him game time allowing him to play to the best of his ability and further improve his potential.”
Heard started a total of eight matches last year, including six consecutively just before Christmas, and came on as a substitute in a further eight more. His last appearance was on February 18 when he came on for the last eight minutes of the 25-18 win over Stourbridge and Deacon says he has lots of attributes for a bright future. “Sometimes as a prop forward you can have all the necessary physical attributes and good techniques but you have to be a bit bloody minded about it as well,” added Deacon. “It is hard work and if players put in the effort and do what I call ‘hurt yourself first’ then I think that will stand him in good stead, and I think Tom is very much like this.
“His mental attitude is very strong and you can draw on this when you are up against it sometimes to continue and keep going when it hurts.”