Falcons in double Fijian coup

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 15:52
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NEWS: Newcastle Falcons' ambitious recruitment plans for the 2017-18 season have advanced with the news that Fijian international Josh Matavesi and younger brother Joel Matavesi have both signed for the club.

Josh, 26, is a 17-times-capped centre who was born and raised in Cornwall, where his father Sireli came to live after visiting with the Fiji Barbarians on a tour to the UK in the 1980s.

Part of the Ospreys side which defeated Newcastle Falcons in the European Challenge Cup last month, Josh will move to the North East following the end of the current season.
 
Joel, 21, is a flyhalf who has also spent time with the Ospreys, the English-qualified former Exeter Chiefs academy player currently representing Redruth in National Two South ahead of his switch.
 
This double signing comes hot on the heels of the news that French centre Maxime Mermoz will join the Falcons next season, Director of Rugby Dean Richards delighted to have added the Matavesi brothers to his squad.
 
"Josh is a proven and versatile performer who fits our style of play and can go well in a number of positions, such as centre and flyhalf," Richards said.
 
"I am sure our supporters will enjoy his flair and the impact he can make on the game, and then in Joel we have a very promising young talent who is looking to make the step up. It all points to very exciting times when we look at how the squad is coming together for next season."
 
Keen to finish his time at Ospreys on a high, Josh joins the Falcons after previous spells with European Champions Cup finalists Racing Metro plus fellow Premiership clubs Worcester Warriors and Exeter Chiefs.
 
Making 70 appearances over three seasons with Ospreys, he said: "I am really excited about moving to Newcastle and the vision Dean Richards has for the club. That's what really sold it for me, the fact they are looking to play a very positive style of rugby with good players and good coaching.
 
"Working with Dave Walder as backs and attack coach is another big draw, and the fact they are employing an expansive offloading game. I was up at Newcastle with Ospreys only a few weeks ago to see everything first hand, and it's exciting to think about playing with top guys like Juan Pablo Socino and Maxime Mermoz, to name just a couple.
 
"I have tapped into the Pacific islands network and spoken to people like Vereniki Goneva and Nili Latu about the prospect of coming to Newcastle. They were all really positive about the club and the city, so it's exciting times all round.
 
"But between now and then I am determined to finish the season on a high for Ospreys, with some crucial games coming up. I have loved my time there, and really developed as a person and player. Working with guys like Alun Wyn Jones has been fantastic and I hope to be able to sign off on a really positive note by helping them achieve all their ambitions between now and the end of the season."
 
On the prospect of brother Joel joining him on Tyneside, Josh said: "He's a good player and a big unit. He could be taking my spot in the team so I have to be careful, but he is finishing the season down at Redruth and I'm making sure he's in great shape for the start of pre-season.
 
"He spent some time at Ospreys but was unlucky to get cut with not being Welsh-qualified. Hopefully the fact I am here with him will help get the best out of him, but he is definitely a big talent and it will be great to share this experience together."

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 24 November 2017
Ulster v Treviso 19h05 Kingspan Stadium
Leinster v Dragons 19h35 RDS Stadium
Cardiff Blues v Connacht 19h35 Cardiff Arms Park
Newcastle Falcons v Gloucester 19h45 Kingston Park
Sat, 25 November 2017
Leicester Tigers v Worcester Warriors 12h45 Welford Road
Bath v Harlequins 12h45 Recreation Ground
Italy v South Africa 13h00 Rome
Scotland v Australia 14h30 Edinburgh
England v Samoa 15h00 Twickenham
Wales v New Zealand 17h15 Cardiff
Sale Sharks v Northampton Saints 17h30 AJ Bell Stadium
Ireland v Argentina 17h30 Aviva Stadium
France v Japan 19h00 Paris
Sun, 26 November 2017
Ospreys v Glasgow Warriors 13h00 Liberty Stadium
Kings v Scarlets 13h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Zebre v Munster 13h30 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Saracens v Exeter Chiefs 15h00 Allianz Park
London Irish v Wasps 15h00 Madejski Stadium
Fri, 01 December 2017
Kings v Edinburgh 17h15 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
RESULT SCORE
Fri, 24 November 2017
Cheetahs v Edinburgh 33 | 13
Sun, 19 November 2017
Exeter Chiefs v Harlequins 31 | 17
Leicester Tigers v Sale Sharks 35 | 27
London Irish v Bath 18 | 22
Sat, 18 November 2017
France v South Africa 17 | 18
Scotland v New Zealand 17 | 22
Ireland v Fiji 23 | 20
Wasps v Newcastle Falcons 40 | 10
England v Australia 30 | 6
Wales v Georgia 13 | 6
Italy v Argentina 15 | 31
Worcester Warriors v Northampton Saints 30 | 15
Fri, 17 November 2017
Gloucester v Saracens 23 | 17
Tue, 14 November 2017
France XV v New Zealand 23 | 28
Sat, 11 November 2017
France v New Zealand 18 | 38
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Team P W D L Pts
Exeter Chiefs 8 6 0 2 31
Saracens 8 6 0 2 29
Leicester Tigers 8 6 0 2 26
Bath 8 5 0 3 24
Gloucester 8 5 0 3 22
Wasps 8 4 0 4 20
Harlequins 8 4 0 3 20
Northampton Saints 8 4 0 4 20
Newcastle Falcons 8 4 0 4 20
Sale Sharks 8 2 0 6 15
Worcester Warriors 8 1 0 7 8
London Irish 8 1 0 7 7