The 26-year-old playmaker arrives at College Meadow from Cinderford where he was an integral member of their National Two South title-winning side last season.
A prolific kicker, who successfully made the transition from fly-half to full-back two seasons ago, Moffat is also an outstanding sevens player, having featured in tournaments all over the world, including the Dubai and Las Vegas Sevens tournaments.
He becomes Elthamians’ fifth signing of the close season and will join Cinderford team-mate Kai Little at the club.
Originally from Newcastle where he played at Northern and latterly Gosforth, Moffat attended Loughborough University, playing BUCS and National One Rugby before relocating to the South West where he joined Cinderford.
He has spent the last four years with the Foresters and made 24 appearances last season as they secured a return to National One after a record-breaking campaign.
“Our season couldn’t have gone much better,” Moffat admitted, “breaking league records for points amassed in National Two, points scored, bonus points scored etc. Our pack laid a superb platform for us to play and I contributed a few points from the tee along the way, but I’d be the first to point out that I’m only in a position to do that off the back of the hard work the big guys put in.
“I was very pleased with my form - whilst comfortable at both, I feel I have transitioned from 10 to 15 in the last two seasons and was able to add a secondary dimension to our attack finding a little more space to operate in. Whilst I didn’t get too many tries myself, I’d like to claim the most assists!”
He added: “I like to think of myself as an instinct player. I could potentially have been labelled a maverick in the past but I think I’ve added some balance and maturity with experience.”
Having secured a new job in central London, Moffat admits it was a tough decision to leave Cinderford but is excited by the prospect of a fresh challenge at Elthamians.
“I found it extremely difficult to leave Cinderford,” he said. “I moved to the South West from the other end of the country, I didn’t know anyone and the club has been my family, friends and support network ever since. I was offered a similar opportunity to relocate last year but turned it down as I felt I had unfinished business with the club. Winning the league certainly made it an easier decision, but potentially playing against them next year will be tough. DoR Paul Morris has been a huge support and influence on my rugby career and that’s just one of many relationships I will maintain.
“Whilst rugby has always been a huge part of my life, my career is extremely important to me. After securing a new role in London, I spoke with a number of clubs in both National 1 and National 2. The main reason that OEs stood out was the professional approach to everything they did. I was contacted by Gavin [Lach] initially but also current players and coaches who only had good things to say about the club. I’ve been extremely impressed with the process and what to expect moving forward.”
Moffat’s transition to his new club will be made easier by the presence of Foresters teammate Kai Little. “I did drop Kai a few messages and had a few chats with him regarding his move during training,” Moffat said. “It’s great to have Kai rocking up for the first day of school with me - he’s a great player and I’m looking forward to seeing him continue his form. He’s definitely one that got a few assists!
“I also know a few OEs guys who I played with at Loughborough - every club seems to have a few alumni - but it will be great to catch up with those guys and see some familiar faces.”
Not that Moffat has particularly fond memories of playing against Elthamians! As he recalled. “I played in both games against OEs two seasons ago in National Two, and the games could not have been more different,” he said. “The first game at OEs was an arm wrestle. We were aware that we would not be able to compete in an expansive, open game and tightened everything up. Despite leading for most of the game, I believe Elthamians got out of jail with a dubious refereeing decision in front of their own posts to win by a point!
“The second game was on a big, hard Cinderford pitch on a hot day. OEs were chasing promotion and our season was done, which was reflected in the score-line. We spent most of the game chasing shadows and OEs scored a number of superb tries.”
OEs Director of Rugby Gavin Lach is delighted to have secured the services of the versatile Cinderford full-back. He said: “James comes to the club with a great reputation. He was unlucky not to have gained an England Counties call-up this summer after an outstanding season and then a great County Championship run with Gloucester.
"He has a proven track record at both 10 and 15 and kicks goals for fun. I think I'm correct in saying he scored 250 points again last season and he also brings real pace as well. Sam [Howard] and I agreed, if we are going to progress as a side then it's players of James' calibre we need to attract to our squad, so we are all very pleased he's joining. I have a very good relationship with Paul Morris at Cinderford and I thank him for pointing Moff our way - we are all excited to have him on board."
Updated 15:40 - 15 Jun 2018 by Jon Edwards