Welsh centre Gareth Owen has decided to leave Leicester Tigers for Newcastle Falcons for next season despite their relegation to the Championship.
The centre, who is also comfortable playing at fly-half and full-back has signed a two-year deal and although he won’t be in the Premiership, he is excited by the challenge ahead.
“I see this as an exciting new challenge, even if things unfortunately didn’t go to plan for the Falcons in terms of remaining in the Premiership. I’m excited about trying to get the boys back up where they belong, and from a family perspective it’s great to be moving to the north east,” he said.
Owen continued on to say that the Falcons are a top-tier side and although he was part of the Leicester team that confirmed their Championship status he is fully committed to the cause.
“People think of Newcastle Falcons as being a Premiership club. We have to work hard next season and take nothing for granted to regain that status, and it’s all set up here to do that. I played for Leicester against them a couple of weeks ago in a game which helped to seal their fate in terms of relegation, but that’s just the way sport goes. Once next season starts I’m a Newcastle player so I’ll be fully committed to the club, and from what I experienced a few weeks ago I know I’m joining a club with great supporters, a nice stadium and a huge amount of ability,” he added.
The versatile back brings a wealth of experience having made 29 appearances for the Tigers as well as over 120 appearances for the Scarlets and Ospreys which included a Pro 12 title in 2017 and he noted he wants to use that experience to help Newcastle.
“I have quite a bit of experience at a high level. I’ve played across the back line and I can offer something to the squad. I’m just looking forward to getting up there for pre-season now and really making the most of this opportunity,” he finished.
The Falcons director of rugby Dean Richards is also looking forward to having the 30-year-olds experience within the squad.
“Gareth brings a lot of top-level experience and will help to get our back-line firing next season. He is a very balanced centre with a great skill set who can help get the most out of our other talented players, and we look forward to working with him when he arrives in the summer,” he said.
Owen will play his final game for Leicester on Saturday when they welcome Bath to Welford Road and will then have to look forward to Championship rugby next season.
Exiles name squad for Saints’ cup visit
Declan Kidney has confirmed the squad that will welcome Northampton Saints to the Gtech Community Stadium for Round 2 of the Premiership Rugby Cup on Tuesday night (7:45pm kick-off).
Tarek Haffar, Patrick Harrison, and Ciaran Parker are in the front row, with Ed Scragg and Chunya Munga in the second row.
Jack Cooke captains the side from the six jersey and is joined in the back row by Isaac Curtis-Harris and Ben Atkins
Hugh O’Sullivan and Rory Jennings are the halfback duo, with Tom Hitchcock and Luca Morisi combining in the centres.
Michael Dykes, Ben Loader and Logan Trotter form the back three to complete the line-up.
“We have 13 players in tomorrow’s squad that have come through the Club’s Academy system,” said Declan Kidney, Director of Rugby.
“This is a credit to the hard work that the players and Academy staff have put into their development, and it’s great to see.
“We had a good win against Harlequins last time out in this competition, but we know the size of the challenge ahead of us given the result of the trip to Northampton in the league.
“Northampton have a good squad at their disposal, and I’m sure that both sides will come into the contest wanting to play a good, expansive brand of rugby.”
15 Logan Trotter, 14 Ben Loader, 13 Luca Morisi, 12 Tom Hitchcock, 11 Michael Dykes, 10 Rory Jennings, 9 Hugh O’Sullivan, 1 Tarek Haffar, 2 Patrick Harrison, 3 Ciaran Parker, 4 Ed Scragg, 5 Chunya Munga, 6 Jack Cooke (c), 7 Isaac Curtis-Harris, 8 Ben Atkins.
16 Joseph Vajner, 17 Jamie Jack, 18 Mikey Summerfield, 19 Hallam Chapman, 20 Izzy Moore-Aiono, 21 Ollie Allan, 22 Jacob Atkins, 23 Alex Harmes.
Team news: Side for Tuesday Cup clash
Monday 26 September 2022
Louie Johnson starts at full-back for Newcastle Falcons on Tuesday night as they continue their Premiership Rugby Cup campaign at home to Sale Sharks.
The 7.45pm kick-off at Kingston Park Stadium sees five personnel changes from the side which was beaten 35-21 in the opening round at Wasps – Newcastle once again rotating their resources in a block which sees them playing five games in 13 days.
Former Saracen Elliott Obatoyinbo moves to the right wing in his second game since signing a short-term contract, Iwan Stephens starting on the other wing after scoring with the final play at Wasps.
England Under-20s hooker Ollie Fletcher makes his first start for the Falcons after coming on from the bench in their last cup outing, while Matthew Dalton packs down at second row after a summer which has seen him playing club rugby in Australia.
Newcastle University flanker George Bennett-Teare is one of four guest players in the match-day squad, being joined by fellow Newcastle students Rory Ward and Oliver Melville plus Northumbria University’s Will Hopes.
On the bench there could be a debut for 18-year-old prop Mike Rewcastle, with 13 current or former Falcons academy players selected in the match-day 23.
Newcastle Falcons head coach Dave Walder said: “This is a great opportunity for this group of players to go out there and show us what they can do in a proper match scenario.
“Playing three away games in the space of eight days has really tested our playing resources, and with our Gallagher Premiership game against Bristol being on Friday night this week we are again being pushed to the limit with such a short turnaround.
“But there is a lot of attacking ability within this group, it’s a wonderful chance for them to put in a big performance in front of our home crowd and really push their case for selection on a longer-term basis.”
Tuesday’s game is not being shown on TV or live stream, so being there in person is the only way to see all the action.
Newcastle Falcons team to face Sale Sharks (Tuesday, 7.45pm, Kingston Park Stadium)
15 Louie Johnson, 14 Elliott Obatoyinbo, 13 Zach Kerr (captain), 12 Ewan Greenlaw, 11 Iwan Stephens, 10 Josh Thomas, 9 James Blackett; 1 Conrad Cade, 2 Ollie Fletcher, 3 Mark Tampin, 4 Matthew Dalton, 5 Josh Peters, 6 George Bennett-Teare, 7 Marcus Tiffen, 8 Matt Deehan.
Replacements: 16 Mark Dormer, 17 Mike Rewcastle, 18 Conor Kenny, 19 Rory Ward, 20 Will Hopes, 21 Ben Douglas, 22 Jeremy Civil, 23 Oliver Melville.
Not available for selection: Luke Coulston, Nathan Earle, Carl Fearns, Gary Graham, Pete Lucock, Matias Moroni, Logovi’i Mulipola, Chidera Obonna, Matias Orlando, Guy Pepper, Vereimi Qorowale, Charlie Smith, Philip van der Walt, Will Welch, Michael Young.
Sale Sharks: 15 Elliot Gourlay, 14 Byron McGuigan, 13 Joe Bedlow, 12 Tom Curtis, 11 Sammy Adu, 10 Kieran Wilkinson, 9 Nye Thomas; 1 Ben Carlile, 2 Ethan Caine, 3 Joe Jones, 4 Dom Barrow, 5 Alex Groves, 6 Matt Postlethwaite, 7 Sam Dugdale (captain), 8 Reuban Birch.
Replacements: 16 Harry Thompson, 17 Tumy Onasanya, 18 Cal Ford, 19 Ben Bamber, 20 Ewan Murphy, 21 Huw Davies, 22 Cal Morris, 23 Arron Pope.
Referee: Hamish Smales.
GUEST PLAYER BIOS
George Bennett-Teare: Back row, Newcastle University, 01/02/2002, 193cm, 110kg.
Will Hopes: Lock, Northumbria University, 20/7/2001, 194cm, 105kg.
Oliver Melville: Full-back, Newcastle University, 19/01/2002, 182ck, 87kg.
Rory Ward: Lock, Newcastle University, 01/03/2003, 196cm, 108kg.
Saints sign Bristol forward on loan
Northampton Saints can today confirm the signing of Marty Mulhall from Bristol Bears on a month-long loan deal.The 120kg loosehead prop, 25, initially joined the Bears from Swansea University in July following a stint in BUCS Super Rugby, having already represented Ireland Students.Mulhall has signed until the end of October to bolster Northampton’s squad, with Saints scheduled to play eight times in the next five weeks – including three Premiership Rugby Cup fixtures (against London Irish, Saracens and Harlequins) and five in the Gallagher Premiership (Harlequins, Wasps, Newcastle Falcons, Bath Rugby and Bristol Bears).The Club would like to thank the management team at Bristol for their co-operation with this loan.
Northampton Saints can today confirm the signing of Marty Mulhall from Bristol Bears on a month-long loan deal.
The 120kg loosehead prop, 25, initially joined the Bears from Swansea University in July following a stint in BUCS Super Rugby, having already represented Ireland Students.
Mulhall has signed until the end of October to bolster Northampton’s squad, with Saints scheduled to play eight times in the next five weeks – including three Premiership Rugby Cup fixtures (against London Irish, Saracens and Harlequins) and five in the Gallagher Premiership (Harlequins, Wasps, Newcastle Falcons, Bath Rugby and Bristol Bears).
The Club would like to thank the management team at Bristol for their co-operation with this loan.
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