Newcastle Falcons have secured the signing of Scotland Under-20s flanker Guy Graham, whose older brother Gary has also extended his stay with the Kingston Park club.
Flanker Guy has agreed a two-year deal, the 19-year-old having formed part of the Scotland Under-20s side which defeated England Under-20s during this year’s Six Nations.
Brother Gary has signed a new two-year extension, the 25-year-old having made 12 first team appearances in a breakthrough season which also saw him called into the England squad for the Six Nations before suffering a neck injury in the build-up to their opener in Italy.
Both players are the son of George Graham, the Scotland prop who helped the Falcons win the 1997-8 Premiership title and the 2001 Tetley’s Bitter Cup final, Guy saying: “I’m really excited to be going professional and to be joining the Falcons, the club where my brother plays and where my dad did so well.
“Gary has been great in terms of giving me an idea of what I can expect, and my dad also has a lot of experience of professional rugby which I’ve been able to tap into. I know it will involve a lot of hard work and sacrifice but I’m ready to do it, and I hope I can make an impact.”
Guy has been playing under his dad this season for Scottish Premiership club Hawick RFC this season, and is ready to step into the full-time game. He said: “I’m looking forward to getting stuck into being a professional, training every day and just learning from all the great players and coaches they have at Newcastle.
“It’ll be a bit different from working on the building site. I’m currently helping put down some groundworks on a housing estate in Thursby near Carlisle, but I can’t wait to get started in pre-season and I’m already doing my preparation work for that.”
Giving supporters an idea of what to expect, the man who scored twice against France Under-20s this season added: “I just like to get the basics right – tackling, breakdown work and carrying the ball. I’m not a fancy player, I just like to put the work in and approach things that way.”
Older brother Gary has taken a similar workman-like approach since joining the Falcons from Jersey last summer, and was delighted to have extended terms at Kingston Park as he prepares to return in the coming weeks from the neck injury which has sidelined him since February.
“I didn’t really expect this season to go as well as it did,” said Graham, who has scored four tries in his 12 first team appearances.
“I’ve really enjoyed it, I’m happy to be staying on and I’ve made a lot of good mates here as well as getting stuck into a lot of hard work. It’s obvious that the club is going places, we have a real good bunch of lads and the city is great, so it was an easy decision.”
Giving the inside track on younger brother Guy, Gary added: “He’s a bit like myself in many ways. He’s aggressive, physical, works really hard and I think he has a big future if he gets his head down and just gets on with it.
“Hopefully with me being here I can guide him a little bit through those early stages, and I’m probably doing myself out of a job because he plays the same position as me!”
Falcons director of rugby Dean Richards insisted he was happy with both pieces of business, saying: “Gary has really made a mark in his first season of top-flight rugby and it’s great that we have been able to secure his future here.
“He has stepped up well from the Championship, shown up well in the games he has played and earned recognition from the England coaches with his call-up. It was unfortunate that injury prevented him from being available for selection during the Six Nations but he is not too far away from returning now, and we look forward to the contribution he can hopefully make during the run-in to the season.
“In terms of Guy, he is a very promising young player who in many ways embodies the same qualities as Gary. He is strong at the breakdown, is a very hard worker and puts himself about. Training in the full-time environment will get him to where he needs to be in a physical sense, but he is a talented lad who has a lot to offer.”
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