Chidera Obonna scoring his first Premiership try against Northampton Saints

Six senior academy players sign new contracts

Wednesday 9 June 2021

Newcastle Falcons have confirmed their senior academy squad for 2021-22, with six players renewing terms, five remaining under contract and a further six joining the group.

The six agreeing new contracts to remain with the Falcons’ senior academy are Conrad Cade, Freddie Lockwood, James Blackett, Zach Kerr, Chidera Obonna and Matty Ward – with Josh Basham and Rob Farrar both promoted to the first team squad.

Existing senior academy squad members Phil Brantingham, Oscar Caudle, Will Haydon-Wood, Morgan Passman and Iwan Stephens all remain on board, with the group bolstered by new arrivals Mark Dormer (prop), Ollie Fletcher (hooker), Marcus Tiffen (back row), Guy Pepper (back row), Louie Johnson (fly-half) and Ewan Greenlaw (centre).

Bailey Ransom, Charlie Richards and Callum Pascoe all depart the senior academy squad with the club's thanks and best wishes, although Pascoe will remain on board during pre-season as he rehabs the serious leg injury which prematurely ended his 2020-21 campaign.

The six players to agree new senior academy contracts are:

CONRAD CADE

The loose-head prop helped Doncaster Knights to a third-place finish in this season’s Greene King IPA Championship season. Heralding from County Durham, the North East native completed his degree studies at Leeds Beckett University before joining the Falcons on a permanent basis last season after a series of outings for the A-Team as an Associate Academy player.

FREDDIE LOCKWOOD

The pig farmer from Malton in North Yorkshire, and former Barnard Castle School pupil, had impressed for Blaydon RFC in his first year out of school and made his senior debut for the club v Castres in December 2020. He put pen to paper on a new deal recently to continue his development as a flanker under the guidance of our strong back-row cohort.

JAMES BLACKETT

The goal kicking scrum-half has impressed in training this year and despite not making his senior bow has earned a contract extension through his hard work and diligence. The Morpeth-man is studying combined honours at Newcastle University and was an ever-present in the Falcons U18 team last season, kicking the last-gasp conversion that won their play-off game at the U18 League finals day.

ZACH KERR

Zach joined the club on trial in pre-season 2020 having previously spent time with Yorkshire Carnegie and Bay of Plenty. The Ulster-man and nephew of Saracens boss Mark McCall made his first team debut at Castres and has gone on to make an appearance away at Exeter Chiefs in the Premiership. He will continue to combine rugby with his law degree at Newcastle University in his new contract.

CHIDERA OBONNA

Blessed with blistering pace, the former RGS pupil had a debut to remember in the away win at Castres in the European Challenge Cup. The former England age grade player has since gone on to make his Premiership debut away at Gloucester and scored the match-winning try against Northampton Saints last month. He is combining professional rugby with a law degree at Northumbria University.

MATTY WARD

The Gosforth Academy ACE Scheme graduate renewed terms following a successful first year of senior rugby that saw him called into the England U20s squad, and had it not been for an unfortunate injury he would have been in contention for the U20 6 Nations this summer. Originally from Durham City, Matty has been completing a foundation degree at Northumbria University alongside his rugby programme.

These players will remain in the Senior Academy alongside Phil Brantingham (prop), Oscar Caudle (prop), Will Haydon-Wood (fly half), Morgan Passman (wing) and Iwan Stephens (full back). They will be joined by new arrivals Ollie Fletcher (hooker), Marcus Tiffen (back row), Guy Pepper (back row), Louie Johnson (fly-half) and Ewan Greenlaw (centre).

The club have also signed talented loosehead prop Mark Dormer from the Junior Academy. Mark is an England age grade international and RGS Newcastle pupil who made a good first impression in senior rugby when he represented our A-Team game against England U20s back in March.

Click here to read about our other five new arrivals to the senior academy.

NEWCASTLE FALCONS SENIOR ACADEMY SQUAD 2021/22

Conrad Cade (prop)

Mark Dormer (prop)

Phil Brantingham (prop)

Oscar Caudle (prop)

Ollie Fletcher (hooker)

Freddie Lockwood (back-row)

Marcus Tiffen (back-row)

Guy Pepper (backrow)

James Blackett (scrum-half)

Will Haydon-Wood (fly-half)

Louie Johnson (fly-half)

Ewan Greenlaw (centre)

Zach Kerr (centre)

Chidera Obonna (wing)

Morgan Passman (wing)

Matty Ward (wing)

Iwan Stephens (full-back)

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