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Team news: Qorowale to make Falcons debut at Leicester



Thursday 25 August 2022

Newcastle Falcons have named their team for Friday night’s pre-season opener away to Gallagher Premiership champions Leicester Tigers, with summer signings Vereimi Qorowale and Josh Peters making starting debuts.

The 7pm kick-off at Mattioli Woods Welford Road sees the Falcons going with a 31-man squad – their other pre-season friendly being the trip to Doncaster Knights on Friday September 2 before the Premiership campaign starts at home to Harlequins on Saturday September 10.

Qorowale (pictured) starts on the right wing after joining from the British Army, with lock-forward Peters having made the move from Doncaster. Three further new arrivals are named among the replacements, which include scrum-half Josh Barton (Coventry), fly-half Josh Thomas (Ospreys) and lock Sebastian de Chaves (Austin Gilgronis).

Head coach Dave Walder, who is now in charge of first-team affairs, said: “We want to test ourselves against as good an opposition as we can, and Leicester away is about as tough as it gets.

“A lot of it is about game time, getting that first hit-out and checking where things are, and then the following Friday away to Doncaster will be another good test against a club who have Premiership ambitions. We feel like we’re in a good place with the work we’ve put in, and we have two important tests now to make sure we’re ready for Quins at home on September 10.

“Friday at Leicester is the first proper chance we’ll have to check our game understanding under real pressure.

“We obviously work hard in training but ultimately you’re running your own attack against your own defence, and people can get into habits. Friday is an opportunity to put that under some more pressure and see what further improvements we can make going into the Harlequins game two weeks on Saturday.”

Walder and his squad have spent most of the week in Yorkshire at Queen Ethelburga’s Collegiate, building on a summer of hard work.

“Camp has been really useful for us and we’ve got a lot of good work done during that time,” he said.

“It’s great to get the squad together, and as well as the training and meetings it’s about spending time together off the pitch. You get a better understanding of their learning and where they are, although to be fair this season we’ve been spending more time together with some of the changes we’ve put in place, like having a team room at Kingston Park.

“It’s nice to see players in a different environment, getting to know each other a little more broadly away from rugby, and there’s a good harmony in the group.

“Even for the coaching and backroom team, we’re used to seeing each other all day at work where we’re eating, breathing and sleeping rugby, but you come away to camp and unwind together as well. The coaches are unbeaten on the pool table – we’ve been dominating the physios and other staff all week – and it’s just those little relationships that help tighten the group.”

Despite naming a 31-man squad the Falcons are without a host of players due to injuries, suspension and international call-ups, with Walder explaining a number of the absentees.

He said: “Connor Collett is out with a hamstring injury until around late September or early October having recovered from a shoulder operation, Sam Stuart is around the same timeframe after having surgery on his foot, Adam Brocklebank has had bicep surgery, Philip van der Walt did his ACL at the end of last season, Chidera Obonna is in a boot after rolling his ankle and Tom Penny is out with a hamstring.”

Friday’s game will be live-streamed free of charge by Leicester Tigers, although registration is required by clicking here. A link will be emailed out by Leicester on Friday at 5pm for those who have registered.

Newcastle Falcons team to face Leicester Tigers (Friday, 7pm, Mattioli Woods Welford Road):

15 Alex Tait, 14 Vereimi Qorowale, 13 Ben Stevenson, 12 Pete Lucock, 11 Zach Kerr, 10 Brett Connon, 9 Michael Young; 1 Logovi’i Mulipola, 2 Charlie Maddison, 3 Mark Tampin, 4 George Merrick, 5 Josh Peters, 6 Gary Graham, 7 Will Welch (captain), 8 Tom Marshall.

Replacements: 1 Phil Brantingham, 2 George McGuigan, 3 Conor Kenny, 4 Matthew Dalton, 5 Sebastian de Chaves, 6 Matt Deehan, 7 Marcus Tiffen, 8 Carl Fearns, 9 Josh Barton, 9 Cameron Nordli-Kelemeti, 10 Josh Thomas, 11 Nathan Earle, 12 Ewan Greenlaw, 13 George Wacokecoke, 14 Adam Radwan, 15 Iwan Stephens.

Referee: Hamish Smales.

Not available for selection: Jamie Blamire, Adam Brocklebank, Mateo Carreras, Callum Chick, Connor Collett, Trevor Davison, Louie Johnson, Matias Moroni, Chidera Obonna, Matias Orlando, Tom Penny, Guy Pepper, Sean Robinson, Tian Schoeman, Sam Stuart, Philip van der Walt.

Source – Newcastle Falcons Rugby


Cokanasiga confirms future



Bath Rugby can confirm England international Joe Cokanasiga has committed his future to the club.

The 25-year-old has been in fine form this season, scoring four tries in nine Gallagher Premiership matches to date, and joins Tom Dunn, Will Stuart, Sam Underhill, Cameron Redpath and Ben Spencer in extending his time at The Rec. 

“Joe has been excellent for us this season and we’re delighted he will be staying with us,” Head of Rugby Johann van Graan said.

“He has great physical attributes which he uses to great effect, and his offloading ability in contact has provided us with fantastic attacking opportunities.

“He is an exciting player for us and we have no doubt he will continue to be an integral member of our squad.”

Cokanasiga has flourished under van Graan and has had a notable influence in games due to his power and pace. 

Since arriving in the West Country, the bulldozing wing has featured over 50 times for the Blue, Black and White whilst also making a significant impact on the international stage.

Debuting in 2018 against Japan, Cokanasiga has scored 12 tries in 14 Test matches, adding to his 21 in Bath colours. 

“There are goals I still want to accomplish here,” he said. 

“I really want to mark my time at the club by winning trophies; that’s a big ambition of mine. 

“A lot of change has taken place over the past few years, but this season I’ve found consistency in my performances. I feel I’ve positively contributed to the club’s progression and I’m excited by what’s to come in the next chapter.”



Bath Rugby return to action on Saturday 18 February against London Irish before hosting Bristol Bears on Friday 24 February.

Exeter Chiefs head to The Rec on Sunday 26 March in our penultimate home outing.

Whatever takes your fancy, get your tickets!




Content & Images from – Bath Rugby

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Chiefs fullback agrees new deal



Exeter Chiefs

By Mark Stevens

Josh Hodge says he’s ‘over the moon’ to have agreed a new long-term deal with the Exeter Chiefs.

The gifted full-back has pledged his future to the Devon club and believes an exciting period lies ahead for him and everyone at Sandy Park.

Signed in the summer of 2020 from Gallagher Premiership rivals Newcastle Falcons, the 22-year-old has to date made 37 first-team appearances, scoring 39 points in all competitions.

He is seen by many, including Director of Rugby, Rob Baxter, as one of the crown jewels in Exeter’s exciting vision for the future and news that he is staying put for the foreseeable future will be welcomed by everyone connected with the Chiefs.

“To be honest, it wasn’t a hard decision to sign a new contract with this fantastic club,” said Hodge. “Personally, I’m over the moon and I’m looking forward to my future here in the sunny county of Devon.

“There has been a lot of effort, good business decisions and hard work, both in training and on the pitch, to achieve the results the club has achieved in recent years.”

Alongside Hodge, the Chiefs are investing heavily in bringing through their next crop of young talent, such as Dafydd Jenkins, Christ Tshiunza, Marcus Street, Richard Capstick, Sam Maunder, Will Becconsall and Greg Fisilau to name but a few.

“I’m looking forward to working with the team to help the club attain its rightful position towards the top of all the competitions we take part in and justify the efforts of past players and trainers,” added Hodge.

“All the building blocks have been put in place by the board, backroom staff and coaches and it’s up to the team to work tirelessly to put the cherry on the cake and deliver the results the Chiefs and our fans deserve.”

Others within the current Chiefs ranks are expected to confirm they are also extending their stays with the club in the coming days and weeks.

Content & Images from – Exeter Chiefs Rugby

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Tigers sign Brown on short-term contract



Leicester Tigers can confirm the signing of Mike Brown on a short-term contract.

The outside-back joins Tigers after previously representing Harlequins, where he won two Premiership titles, and Newcastle Falcons.

Brown has made 72 Test appearances for England and featured in three Six Nations winning campaigns for the national side.

Speaking about the addition of Brown, Leicester Tigers Head Coach Richard Wigglesworth said: “Mike is an experienced Premiership player, who has represented his country and won trophies at club and Test level.

“His experience and his knowledge is vital during this Six Nations period where we have a number of players away.

“Mike is hungry to prove himself out on the pitch and impressed us with not only what he’s saying and doing off the pitch, but his efforts on the field and willingness to help those guys around him.

“Above all, Mike is a competitor and wants to be successful. We want those attributes in our players and he offers that.”

Discussing the move to Leicester Tigers, Brown said: “To join a club like this with all of its history and players who have been here before, it is amazing.”

“When Leicester Tigers offer you the chance to go into the environment, it is a hard one to turn down.”

Brown joins after a trial period at the club, about which he added: “To get the chance to come into the environment has been great so far and a really positive experience for me.”

“It has just had a great impression on me, led by enthusiastic coaches – one of which in Wiggy I have played a lot of rugby with – and then equally, all of the players have welcomed me in.

“I have felt sharp and it has been really good out on the field with this group of Tigers players.”

Brown recently featured for The Barbarians and, looking ahead to a potential return to professional rugby, said: “I still believe I have a part to play in the game. I didn’t believe it was my time to stop because I felt good and I still feel good.”

“I have been staying fit, wanting to be ready and not just hanging on to hope but being best prepared if it did.”

Brown joins the club effective immediately.

Content & Images from – Leicester Tigers Rugby

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