FORMER Tonga international Soane Tonga’uiha has joined Chinnor as player/coach.

The front row, who represented his country at three World Cups, played for Ampthill in the Championship last season.

But he is best known for a seven-year stint with Northampton Saints, where he made 184 appearances.

His arrival as forwards coach completes director of rugby Richard Thorpe’s backroom set-up at the National League 1 club alongside Craig Hampson and Delon Armitage.

The prop, who will also have a role in Chinnor’s community department, said: “With Richard Thorpe and the coaching staff here, it’s quite an exciting time for the club and the area.

“When Thorpey called me, it sounded like a great opportunity and I’m looking forward to being a part of this journey.

“I’ll be a player-coach, but I still enjoy playing.

“I’m looking forward to mixing with the boys and I’d like to pass on any experience I have to the rest of the squad.

“I run my own business which works with juniors, I started that two years ago, and I’m enjoying that.

“There’s a great mini and juniors section at the club, so working with the community department all ties in well with what I’m doing.”

Thorpe added: “Chinnor now boasts hundreds of Premiership games and dozens of international caps within its coaching team.

“We set our sights back in May on becoming a player-centred club, and having a player-coach with Soane’s experience will be invaluable in delivering this.”

He joins a squad fresh from a bonding trip tackling the three highest peaks in Wales.

Oxford Mail:

A group of players and staff scaled Snowdon, Cadair Idris and Pen y Fan in just over 13 hours.

Some missed out on the final climb, having taken time to help Jon Lavin, who suffered a knee injury on the way down Cadair Idris.

It raised £2,400 for the Oxford Hospitals Charity.

Thorpe added: “Nothing bonds a team together quite like shared challenge and adversity, and we surely had both in abundance.”