By Haden Tye
Kieran Hallett has added prop Ricky Cano to his Albion side for next year and the new signing hopes to help the club return to the Championship in his first season at Brickfields.
Ricky was playing for Rotherham Titans in the Championship last season and wants to play in that division again in the future with Albion. The 24-year-old, who has also had spells at Hartpury College and Chinnor says that he recognises Albion as a Championship club so it doesn’t feel like he is making a step down.
“Ultimately I want to be playing Championship,” said Ricky. “But it doesn’t feel like a step down coming from the Championship to Plymouth. Their ambitions are Championship and I have known Plymouth since I was young because I am from Bristol and they have always been in the Championship, so I have known them to be a Championship club, so it’s nothing different, it’s not even a step down so I am really excited to get going really.
“I have played National One, I have played National Two. I have played at Hartpury, who won the league, but I have never ever won National One. To win the league would be amazing. I have just come short actually because I left Hartpury just before they won the league, so actually, to win a league would be something; it would be amazing. I don’t actually have that. I have played over 120 or 130 National League games, so it would be very nice, definitely.
“I started off at Bristol Academy. I played for Bristol a few times and from there I went to Hartpury College, played a bit there, then went to Chinnor rugby club and spent a few years there still trying to progress to Championship rugby. From there I got picked up to go to Rotherham and I played a few Championship games this year which I have wanted to do since I was young. The last game was against London Irish which was quite a big one so I was quite happy with that. I am just looking to keep furthering my career and I thought Plymouth seems a great place to come and do that.
“I have played with George Mills up at Hartpury, I know him quite well. I know of a lot of the players, but if I was actually to say I know a player it’s George Mills; he is one of the players I know quite well ‘cause I spent two years at Hartpury with him.”
Ricky says that he was contacted by Albion player/coach Kieran Hallett and joint-owner Bruce Priday about the possibility of a move to Albion, and after speaking to them he was excited by the ambition of the club and felt it would be a great place for him to continue his development.
“Kieran Hallett got my details off someone,” said Ricky. “I am not quite sure actually – maybe he saw one of my games for Rotherham. I had an email from him and Bruce and they said they were really keen to get hold of me and we just sort of went from there. They said they would like to sign me and had a chat with me. I went to speak to Bruce and I really enjoyed what he said and where Plymouth want to go; looking to get to the Championship next year. He said in a few years’ time hopefully Albion will be pushing for the Premiership. It’s great ambition and it seems like a great club, so that’s how it came about.”
Albion finished last season strong winning their final 13 games of the season, meaning that they will be widely regarded as favourites for promotion next season. Ricky thinks that the club will be competing at the top end of the table, too.
“Definitely,” said Ricky on whether promotion is realistic for Albion next year. “Seeing the squad that they had last year, if it wasn’t for Hartpury running away with it [then Albion would have gone up]. Plymouth got more points than Richmond did the year before so it shows they are ready to go up and they should be competing next year, and with no one coming down I think we have got a really really good chance of going up. I think that is what all the supporters want as well as the club.”