Kelly Hails Howe Capture as ‘Significant’
July 1, 2022
Cornwall RLFC’s capture of rugby union forward Brad Howe has been hailed as ‘significant’ by head coach Neil Kelly.
Howe, 26, inked terms with the Choughs for the rest of the 2022 Betfred League 1 season after previously playing in the last union season for National league Two South outfit Redruth.
Truro born, Howe’s arrival at the Mem further bolsters the homegrown contingent in Kelly’s squad.
Skipper Jamie Prisk, Decarlo Trerise, Sam Snell and Sam Gilder all featured in Cornwall’s history-making maiden professional triumph at West Wales Raiders last week.
“Brad is Cornish and I’m not particularly concerned if he’s played rugby union,” Kelly told cornwallrlfc.co.uk. “Brad is well-known within Cornish rugby union circles and he showed an interest in joining us.
“As I have said previously, he has shown up well in training and it wasn’t a tough decision to sign him. This was important after recently bolstering our squad with some players who have played rugby league previously, and our first ever win.
“I think Brad is a significant signing in terms of our commitment to sign Cornish players. It is not lost on me that almost a third of our side that beat West Wales last week were Cornish.
“I’m quite certain that Brad is another piece in that jigsaw.”
Kelly himself is no stranger himself to crossing the divide between league and union and the 60-year-old has spent time coaching both codes.
With that in mind, the former Super League Coach of the Year, is well-placed to know about the transition that Howe will undertake. Kelly also saw similarities between Howe and former cross-code star Scott Quinell.
The Welshman joined Wigan from Llanelli in 1994 and took rugby league by storm before moving back to union when it ditched its amateur status in the mid-90s.
“It is tough to switch codes in either direction,” Kelly added. “There have been huge success stories in players growing up with rugby union but moving to rugby league. Someone like Jonathan Davies is a great example of that.
“Another player, with similarities to Brad, was Scott Quinell. When he went to Wigan, he wasn’t the finished object as a rugby league player.
“In a short space of time though, Wigan got Scott fit and educated in the game and he was a fantastic rugby league player.
“He then went back to rugby union not long after it went professional and it benefited rugby union, the fitness that Scott had gained playing league.
“I think fitness will be tough for Brad but with nine games left and training, we are confident that he will progress.”