Ollie Hodgson (left), George McGuigan (centre) and Zach Kibirige (right) have all pledged their future to Newcastle Falcons

Talented Trio Pen New Deals

Sunday 31 March 2013

Newcastle Falcons are delighted to announce that three of the club’s academy products have signed new contracts.

Hooker George McGuigan, winger Zach Kibirige and flanker Ollie Hodgson have all committed their future to the North East club under the stewardship of director of rugby Dean Richards.

McGuigan, 20, who has represented Ireland Under-20s this term, has agreed a one-year contract extension.

He said: “I am delighted to have re-signed at the Newcastle Falcons, and I am excited at the clubs’ ambitious plans.

“The whole team spirit at the club is second to none at the moment, and it is a fantastic environment in which to train and play your rugby.

“Academy manager Mark Laycock and academy coach James Ponton have had a massive impact on my development at the club, as well as Dean Richards, who has had an impact on me off the field.”

Meanwhile, a week after winning the Daily Mail RBS U18 Vase Final at Twickenham with Yarm School, the club can confirm that promising winger Kibirige, 18, has penned a two-year-deal.

It was announced before Christmas that Kibirige had signed senior forms with the Falcons but the terms of the deal were undisclosed.

The Middlesbrough-born flyer has scored four tries in three senior outings for the northeasterners this campaign, including a double at Doncaster Knights in the RFU Championship on New Year’s Day.

Representing England Under-17s and Under-18s, Kibirige is due to play for England Under-19s this week and is enthusiastic about his future on Tyneside.

He said: “I am absolutely made-up to have committed my future to the club, and with a world-class coaching set-up in place at Kingston Park, there is certainly something special building at present.

“To get my chance in the first team already this season has been amazing, and fingers crossed I can get more game time under my belt very soon.

“When I have played for the first team this season the senior lads have been fantastic in passing on their advice, and it has really helped my development.”

Gosforth Academy AASE Scheme product Ollie Hodgson, who also hails from Middlesbrough, has put pen to paper on a one-year-deal.

Starting at blindside flanker for the England Under-18s Clubs and Schools side at the weekend against Ireland, Hodgson has enjoyed a handful of games for the Falcons A Team this season.

‪‪Hodgson said: “This is a great opportunity for me, and I am now focussed on working hard to break into the first team.

“When you see the likes of Zach [Kibirige] and Scott [Wilson] getting their chance in the senior side it really spurs you on to do the same.

“The academy set-up has given me a solid grounding in the game, and I am looking forward to continuing my rugby education at Kingston Park.”

Newcastle director of rugby Dean Richards said: “We are big believers in our academy system, and there is some real quality coming through at the moment.

“The club has always prided itself on producing local talent, and it’s a great boost to secure their services as we aim to get back into the Premiership.

“It is nice to have young players in your side that are recognised for their country at age-group level, and the three of them have good futures in the game.”

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