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Falcons sign up Frenchman

Thu, 08 Aug 2013 12:26
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Falcons have a great reputation in the game
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Newcastle Falcons have bolstered their front row options with the signing of French loosehead prop Franck Montanella.

Montanella, 31, who was part of France's 2007 tour of New Zealand, has signed a two-year deal with the North East club.

Standing at six feet one inch (1.85 metres) tall and weighing in at just over 19 stone (120 kilograms), the uncompromising Frenchman joins Dean Richards' men on the back of an impressive campaign with London Welsh where his outstanding form for the Exiles earned him a place in Premiership Rugby's team of the season at the halfway stage.

Montanella played 17 times for Welsh last term, scoring two tries in the process against Gloucester Rugby and London Wasps respectively.

Prior to making the move to England, the Cannes-born powerhouse plied his trade in his native France where he launched his professional career with RC Narbonne.

After a successful stint on the French Riviera, Montanella made the switch to Strasbourg before moving to Auch in 2005, helping them to promotion to the French Top 14 the following season.

His solid displays in the red of Auch brought him to the attention of Stade Francais where he spent two seasons with the Parisian outfit.

Pay's d'Aix and Bourgoin soon came calling for his services before Montanella secured a move to Welsh in 2012.

"Newcastle Falcons has a great reputation in the game, and I can't wait to join up with my new teammates," Montanella told the Falcons' official website.

"There is a superb coaching set-up at Newcastle with Dean Richards in charge, and after a good experience with London Welsh I'm delighted to be back playing in the Aviva Premiership this season," added the French capped scrummager.

Falcons director of rugby Dean Richards said: "Franck [Montanella] is the type of player I've been looking for to really strengthen our front row.

"He's a solid scrummager and he brings a lot of experience to the club having played in the French leagues where it can be a hostile environment for props to play their rugby.

"I'm delighted to have him on board and I'm looking forward to working with him this season."

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