BIRMINGHAM & Solihull Bees are shaping up for the new season with a host of new signings this week.
The Championship club has confirmed no less than 12 new signings as they start their pre-season preparations.
Director of Rugby Russell Earnshaw has secured the signatures of nine new forwards, spearheaded by two Tongans - prop Nglau Tau and backrow forward Semisi Taulava.
The imposing Taulava, who was a classmate at school with Leo Halavatau, made a big impact for National Division 2 side Worthing Raiders. And veteran prop Tau cuts an imposing figure at 6ft tall and with a 24 inch collar size.
Fans will also be glad to hear that 15 players from last season have also put pen to paper and signed new contracts - including fan favourites Simon Hunt and Leo Halavatau.
In the backs, John Brake, Mitch Culpin, Tom Foden, John Holtby, Will Lawson, Rod Petty and Jimmy Williams will all feature in the Bees squad for the new campaign.
And in the forwards, Matt Long, Adam Clayton, Rob Connolly, Ross Noonan, Jack Preece, Joe Reid and Mauro Sperandio have all re-signed.
Other new additions include, at front row prop Rob Dugard and two hookers - Dan Oselton and ex-Bee Ben Gerry.
At lock Earnshaw has signed Alex Ball, 21, from Leeds. He will be partnered in the second row by 22-year-old product of the Bath Academy Adrian Griffiths, who has been coached by Earnshaw at Sevens level.
Former Bees favourite Chris Brightwell also returns after a spell at Bedford. He will joined in the back row by Mike Denbee, ex Plymouth Albion.
In the backs, the club has recruited two specialist fly halves - Sam Robinson and George Crook.
The Grove family’s association with the Bees has been further extended by the recruitment of centre/wing Ollie Grove from Worcester.
Ben Barkley, who featured in the Midlands Team of the Year last season, also joins the Bees at centre from Stourbridge.