Following a successful 2019-20 season on loan at Cinderford RFC, from Hartpury RFC, back five forward Mathew Gilbert has now signed for the Foresters for the 2020-21 season. Gilbert (34) is the owner of his own pizza business “Gumbie’s Wood Fired Pizza” and is originally from Kent where he played youth rugby for Dover RFC.

Gilbert, despite being classed as profoundly deaf, has forged a hugely successful career in rugby over the years. He joined Hartpury University in 2005 where he also played for Hartpury RFC. After leaving University in 2008 Mat played for a year professionally, in Italy, for Alghero RFC. For two years from 2010 Mat was playing for Scarlets and Llanelli RFC in Wales. He then briefly returned to Italy to play for Mogliano RFC before signing for Premiership Bath Rugby in 2012. In 2014 he signed for fellow Premiership club Worcester Warriors and then in 2017 he became a member of Hartpury RFC’s Championship squad. During his two spells with Hartpury Gilbert was part of five league winning squads and three winning Twickenham cup final teams.

Paul Morris, Director of Rugby at Cinderford RFC, commented “We really enjoyed working with Mathew last season. He’s a fantastic bloke and still a very good player whose ability to play in all five back five positions in the forwards was, and will be, invaluable to us. He played in 22 of our 23 games and definitely helped improve us. We look forward to him playing a major part in the coming season.”

Mat Gilbert stated “I first heard about Cinderford when I joined Hartpury University fifteen years ago. It was great to experience it for myself on loan last season so it was an easy decision, despite the cold Thursday nights, to sign for Cinderford for this season coming.”