Newcastle Falcons have announced a 19-strong senior academy squad for the 2019/20 season, with three of last season’s group promoted into the first-team squad.
Jamie Blamire, Simon Uzokwe and Adam Radwan all step up into the first-team group after graduating from a senior academy squad which next season includes nine new arrivals.
Nine of this season’s senior academy group will retain their places for 2019-20, with George Wacokecoke and Ben Stevenson training full-time after completing their degrees during a season in which both players made their Gallagher Premiership debuts, the latter signing a two-year deal.
Josh Hodge, Josh Basham and Tom Marshall will return to the senior academy following this summer’s World Rugby Under-20 Championship in Argentina, as will existing senior academy members Will Montgomery, Rob Farrar, Charlie Wilson, Cameron Nordli-Kelemeti and Morgan Passman.
They will be joined by new arrivals Conrad Cade, Oscar Caudle, Harry Hill, Freddie Lockwood, Chidera Obonna, Callum Pascoe, Bailey Ransom and Charlie Richards.
Newcastle Falcons academy manager Mark Laycock said: “We have a fantastic group of talented local players coming through the ranks, a number of whom have already had a taste of first team involvement.
“A number of our senior academy players were heavily involved in the Falcons A-Team which this season reached the final of the Premiership Rugby Shield, many have made their mark on the international age-group scene and it’s really pleasing to see three of last year’s senior academy members graduating into the first team squad.
“We have always been a club which looks to promote local talent, and there is plenty of it within the senior academy next season.”
NEWCASTLE FALCONS 2019-20 SENIOR ACADEMY SQUAD
JOSH BASHAM (back row)
England Under-20s back-rower Josh Basham joined the Falcons at the tail end of the 2018-19 season. A London Irish academy graduate, Josh is moving into the second year of his degree studies at Durham University and last week played for England in the World Rugby U20 Championship.
CONRAD CADE (prop)
Born and raised in County Durham, the loose-head prop has featured for the Falcons’ A-Team over the past two seasons whilst studying at Leeds Beckett University. Last month he played in the BUCS Super Rugby final at Twickenham, and represented England Students against France Students.
OSCAR CAUDLE (prop)
Currently studying at Gosforth Academy on the Falcons’ AASE Scheme having moved there from QE Hexham, Oscar has played tight-head prop for his native Tynedale RFC 1st XV at the age of 18 and was a member of the Falcons’ A-Team squad which reached the Premiership Shield final this month. He will combine rugby with study as an Academy Scholar.
ROB FARRAR (back row)
The West Cumbrian has been capped by England at Under-18s level, making his Falcons A-Team debut last season while still playing for an all-conquering Sedbergh School team which won the Rosslyn Park 10s and Sedbergh 7s. Rob was a key figure for the Falcons A-Team which this season reached the final of the Premiership Rugby Shield.
WILL HAYDON-WOOD (fly-half)
Will was part of the Sedbergh School team which won back-to-back Rosslyn Park 7s titles. He was a stand-out performer for the Falcons in the Under-18 League and represented England Under-20s against South Africa last month, having toured South Africa with the Under-18s last summer. Will also started for England Under-19s in their away win over Wales Under-19s three months ago.
HARRY HILL (back row)
The Yorkshireman from Northallerton will join the club this summer when he leaves Sedbergh School, where he has been playing at openside flanker. An England age-group international, Harry will combine his rugby with a university degree as an Academy Scholar.
JOSH HODGE (full-back)
The South Cumbrian is starting his second season as a senior academy player, having shone for Sedbergh School. Hodge has represented England Under-19s and 20s this season, with the goal-kicking full-back offering a notable running threat.
FREDDIE LOCKWOOD (back-five forward)
A Barnard Castle School pupil and back-five forward, Freddie has played junior club rugby at Darlington Mowden Park RFC. He played for England Under-19s against Wales earlier this season after a series of strong performances for the Falcons’ Under-18 team, and will combine rugby with study.
TOM MARSHALL (back-row)
Former Blyth RFC player Tom is currently at the World Rugby U20 Championship with Scotland, and will return to start his second season in the senior academy. Making his first team debut in the Premiership Rugby Cup at home to Exeter this season, Tom was a member of the Falcons’ AASE scheme at Gosforth Academy, helping them to two successive national AASE finals as well as representing England Under-18s.
WILL MONTGOMERY (back-five forward)
Kendal native Will made his first team debut for the Falcons this season when he came on during the Premiership Rugby Cup victory at Sale Sharks. A former England Under-18s international, he can operate in the second row or back row. Will represented the Falcons in the A-League while still studying at Kirkbie Kendal School, the same institution which bred Mark Wilson, and has also played senior rugby for Kendal RFC.
CAMERON NORDLI-KELEMETI (scrum-half)
Making his Falcons first team debut in the Premiership Rugby Cup this season, Nordli-Kelemeti returns for his second season in the senior academy. Born in Fiji and playing his very first rugby with LDS Primary School in the capital, Suva, he moved to England to attend Terrington Hall Prep School in York before moving to Durham School to complete his A-Levels. Nordli Kelemeti is also a dab hand on the sevens scene, playing for England in the Junior Commonwealth Games in 2017.
CHIDERA OBONNA (centre/wing)
Outside back Chidera won the annual St Joseph’s Festival with RGS Newcastle earlier this season, the first time the school had won the competition. The Sunderland-born player has represented England Under-17s and 16s levels, has represented the Falcons A-Team this season and will combine rugby with his academic studies next season.
CALLUM PASCOE (scrum-half)
South-Shields-born scrum-half Pascoe joined the Falcons’ AASE Scheme at Gosforth Academy from Harton Technology College and Westoe RFC. He toured South Africa last summer with England Under-18s, and as well as featuring in the Falcons’ Under-18s team for the past two seasons he has already played for the A-Team at Doncaster Knights and Northampton Wanderers.
MORGAN PASSMAN (wing)
Morgan is starting his second season with the senior academy, having this season been the top try-scorer in National Two North with Tynedale. The physical winger is a Yarm RFC and Egglescliffe School product who helped the Falcons' AASE team to two national finals, coming through the Durham DDP pathway and making his A-League debut while he was still at school.
BAILEY RANSOM (lock)
Hailing from Millfield School, Ransom spent two years in New Zealand with Tauranga before joining our Associate Academy via Newcastle University. Bailey has played regularly for the Falcons’ A-Team this season as well as representing England Students, and joins as a part-time Academy Scholar while he completes his degree.
CHARLIE RICHARDS (back row)
Charlie joins the senior academy following a string of strong performances for Tynedale RFC. The 19-year old back-rower broke into their first team midway through this season having previously attended QE Hexham School, where he played for Tynedale Colts.
BEN STEVENSON (centre/wing)
Having completed his degree at Durham University, Ben returns to the senior academy to train on a full-time basis. The pacy three-quarter made his Premiership debut this season, also featuring in the Premiership Rugby Cup, the competition seeing the former England Students international score a try in the away victory over Harlequins.
GEORGE WACOKECOKE (centre/wing)
England Students international George will train full-time with the Falcons after completing his degree at Northumbria University. This season saw him making his Premiership debut away to Gloucester, as well as being a regular for the A-Team in their push to the Premiership Rugby Shield final.
CHARLIE WILSON (centre)
Former England Under-18s international Charlie is starting his second season in the senior academy, with the former RGS Newcastle pupil continuing his degree studies at Durham University. He recently returned from England Students duty where he played twice against France Students.