Newcastle Falcons are delighted to announce their new Academy signings ahead of the 2014/15 campaign.
Front row pair Scott Wilson and George McGuigan (Academy Player of the Season 2013/14) both graduate into the senior squad with David Nelson, Glen Young, Craig Willis, Tom Penny, Sean Brown and Zach Kibirige continuing to ply their trade in the Academy whilst on dual registration with local clubs Blaydon and Tynedale.
Kiwi born back rower Dan Temm moves onto a full-time academy contract having joined the club part way through last season from Otley RFC. Temm strung together a series of outstanding performances for Tynedale RFC towards the end of last season as they managed to avoid relegation from National 1.
England U19 second rower Will Witty also joins the squad on a full-time basis, fresh from completing his first year of an Agriculture degree at Newcastle University, and England Students full back Simon Hammersley comes in having completed his degree at Durham University where he enjoyed two trips to Twickenham in the BUCS Final. Fellow Palatinate Sean Robinson has also signed professional terms for the Falcons this summer, where the athletic lock/flanker will be on a dual registration agreement with Rotherham Titans in the Green King IPA Chamionship.
Sean will be joined in South Yorkshire at Rotherham by current Academy players Ben Morris (back row), Andy Davies (scrum half) and Chris Harris (centre) who had all been in scintillating form for Blaydon and Tynedale last season and who will be hoping to emulate the same feat in the Championship. Similarly, James Hallam will be moving to London Scottish in his bid to compete consistently at the highest levels.
18 year olds Harry Snowdon (second row, Gosforth Academy, Percy Park RFC, Northumberland) and Dan Taylor (scrum half, Durham School, Westoe RFC, Durham) both come into the Academy squad having recently completed their A Levels. Harry captained Gosforth Academy to silverware in their first season in the AASE League whilst Dan captained Durham School on their strong Nat West Cup run.
Falcons Academy Manager, Mark Laycock commented on the squad: "There is a good mix of players in the academy at the moment with different backgrounds, different skill sets and different characters, which keeps the coaches on their toes. There has been quite a bit of change over the past 12 months and now that the Senior Academy is training with the first team squad on a daily basis, which Dean brought in at the start of last season, we are really starting to see the benefits to their development."
He added: "George (McGuigan) has done exceptionally well this year and is a stark reminder to all the players of what is required to reach the Premiership - some talent and a lot of determination and resilience to overcome whatever obstacles are put in the way. In addition to the full-time Academy group we will be bringing in a small number of 18 year olds on trial over the summer to see how they adapt to a full-time environment and there are some talented youngsters in the region further down the pipeline."