Gloucester Rugby are today pleased to confirm the signing of back row forward Jake Polledri, a standout performer for Hartpury RFC in their National One campaign this season.
By his own admission, the flanker is a late developer, whose rugby journey has seen him represent Filton College and Dings Crusaders, in addition to turning out in the Aviva Premiership A League for Bristol, before joining Hartpury.
His surname will be a familiar one to followers of West Country rugby – his father Peter made almost 500 appearances for Bristol.
However, unlike his father who turned down overtures from Italy back in the 1980s, Jake has played U20s for the Azzurri, playing in the 2014 Junior World Championship, but remains English-qualified.
At senior level, however, 2016-17, his second season with Hartpury, has been his breakthrough campaign as he has played his part in what has been a tremendous season for the runaway leaders in National One.
He admits that the move to Hartpury has exceeded his expectations and opened up an exciting new avenue in his rugby career.
“It’s worked out so well to be honest. I spoke to a few clubs when I left Dings, but Hartpury was far and away the best option for me. It’s one of the best decisions I’ve made and now it’s led to this amazing opportunity with Gloucester.
“The relationship between Hartpury and Gloucester is very strong, and I’ve come to know a number of the dual-registered players very well. And, with Gloucester’s training facility being based at Hartpury, it made it an easier decision.
“Gloucester also have a reputation for giving playing opportunities to young players, I look at the likes of Lewis Ludlow and Ross Moriarty and that’s what I aspire to. It’s what a young Academy player wants to see.”
The future may be bright, and in Cherry and White, but for now he’s 100% committed to finishing the season on a high with Hartpury.
“The focus now is to definitely win the title. We’ve been going strong but we’ve got to keep that mindset. Mark Cornwell and John Barnes want us to get that 30 game unbeaten season and have been working us really hard.
“We’ve got a big game this weekend against Rosslyn Park and we’re not looking any further ahead than that game really.”
Gloucester’s Director of Rugby David Humphreys confirmed:
“Jake has been the standout forward in National One this season and is still developing as a young player at Hartpury. He’s an outstanding ball carrier and, once he benefits from a full preseason in a Premiership environment, he will only get better.”
“Another talented and ambitious young English player, he will add further depth to an area of strength within our squad and we’re very much looking forward to him linking up with us.”
Picture credit: Andrew Beacham/ Hartpury College