Ceillam to bring up 300 on big day for Raiders

Tom Ceillam makes his 300th Raiders appearance at home to Canterbury tomorrow, but the chances of him making 350 seem ever more remote.

Veteran hooker Tom Ceillam. (Picture by Martin Gray, 30737258))
Veteran hooker Tom Ceillam. (Picture by Martin Gray, 30737258))

In offering the long-time hooker a glowing testament, director of rugby Jordan Reynolds revealed that the player is seriously considering retirement after the end-of-season Siam double-header.

‘I don’t think he [will be around] too much longer. I was sitting next to him on the plane last weekend and he is debating about whether he will do another season or not.

‘He is unsure where he is,’ said Reynolds, one of the No 2’s biggest fans.

‘I don’t blame him. His body is pretty battered.’

Replacing Ceillam, 31, who has been a mainstay for more than a decade and will be only the second Raiders player after Layton Batiste to make the 300 mark, will be a problem, admitted the coach.

‘If Tom was to go it would leave a big hole to fill, but that is not his problem,’ said Reynolds, who was already looking to bolster his

hooker options as part of introducing several new players for next season when three favourites are set to leave.

‘Even with two hookers we have been short this season. We need three,’ said someone who is talking to as many as 10 off-island players with a view to filling a few gaps created by the departures of Oscar Baird, Joe Andresen and Dougie Horrocks.

‘It never stops for me in terms of recruitment and I can be talking to guys 12 months out.

‘We need to beef up the forward pack and we need a little more size up front.’

Baird and Andresen are heading back to Glasgow and London respectively, while fill-in captain Horrocks is to end his long stay on island by returning to his native New Zealand to run the family farm.

The good news is that Horrocks will be available for the start of the 22-23 season and does not depart until October.

With the departures in mind Reynolds said he was ‘in conversation with numerous parties’.

‘I am talking with up to 10 players, but we are not bringing in 10. More like a few.’

Kick off against Canterbury is 3.30pm followed, at 5.30, by the club’s two women sides meeting on the same pitch to complete a hectic day of rugby which is dominated by the Junior Siam programme.

The feature Junior Siam game is always the Colts clash and that goes ahead at 12.30pm.

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