Falcons boost forward pack

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 10:37
Large jon welsh 800

NEWS: Newcastle Falcons have strengthened their forward pack for next season with the signings of Lyon prop Sami Mavinga and Jersey Reds flank Gary Graham, while new contracts have been confirmed for prop Jon Welsh and centre Chris Harris.

Mavinga, 23-years-old,  is known to the Falcons after playing twice against them during this season’s European Challenge Cup, while Graham, 24-years-old, joins the club with which his father George won the 1997/8 Premiership title.
 
Mavinga scored against the Falcons while playing for Lyon during December’s European Challenge Cup encounter over in France, also starting in the return leg at Kingston Park Stadium the following week. The 115kg forward has featured nine times in the competition for Lyon, for whom he has made five top-flight league starts this season after coming through the club’s academy system.
 
Newcastle Falcons director of rugby Dean Richards said: "Sami is a player who stood out for Lyon during their two Challenge Cup games against us this season. That put him on our radar, and from there it has been a case of watching more of him in action and getting a fuller picture of what Sami can offer.
 
"He certainly carries well, he is a big strong boy and brings a lot of aggression to the role. We look forward to working with him over the summer and incorporating him into what is already a good group of front-row forwards for the coming campaign,"
 
On the signing of Gary Graham, Richards added: "Gary is a tenacious forward whose physicality has impressed us. He has been a very consistent performer for Jersey in the Championship, he defends well, is strong over the ball and with the skill set he possesses he can add to what is already a very competitive area of our squad.”
 
Stirling-born Graham has featured predominantly at open-side flank for Jersey Reds in this season’s Greene King IPA Championship, the forward having represented Gala RFC and Carlisle RFC prior to his move to the Channel Island just over two years ago.
 
Fellow Scot Jon Welsh heads the first wave of contract renewals as Newcastle make good on their desire for a stable summer on the retention front, the 11-times-capped tight-head having made 29 appearances for the club since joining from Glasgow Warriors.
 
Harris, meanwhile, renews terms with the Falcons after making 45 first team appearances, the academy graduate scoring two tries in six outings during 2017 after recovering from an early-season ankle injury.
 
Richards said: "In Jon and Chris we have two proven performers. The fact that they see their future here underlines the positive feeling about the direction in which the club is going, and we look forward to announcing further key renewals in due course,"
 
The Falcons have already confirmed the signings for next season of French centre Maxime Mermoz (Leicester Tigers), Canada wing DTH van der Merwe (Scarlets), Fiji centre Josh Matavesi (Ospreys), No.8 Ryan Burrows (Yorkshire Carnegie) and flyhalf Joel Matavesi (Redruth).

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Sun, 30 April 2017
Brumbies v Blues 06h05 Canberra
Bath v Gloucester 14h00 Recreation Ground
Fri, 05 May 2017
Hurricanes v Stormers 07h35 Westpac Stadium
Cheetahs v Highlanders 17h00 Bloemfontein
Sat, 06 May 2017
Worcester Warriors v Leicester Tigers 22h00 Sixways
Northampton Saints v Harlequins 22h00 Franklin's Gardens
Wasps v Saracens 22h00 Ricoh Arena
Glasgow Warriors v Edinburgh 22h00 Scotstoun Stadium
Dragons v Cardiff Blues 22h00 Rodney Parade
Zebre v Treviso 22h00 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Ulster v Leinster 22h00 Kingspan Stadium
Munster v Connacht 22h00 Thomond Park
Scarlets v Ospreys 22h00 Parc y Scarlets
Gloucester v Exeter Chiefs 22h00 Kingsholm
Sale Sharks v Bath 22h00 AJ Bell Stadium
Bristol v Newcastle Falcons 22h00 Ashton Gate
Rebels v Lions 05h00 Melbourne
Chiefs v Reds 07h35 New Plymouth
Waratahs v Blues 09h45 Allianz Park
Sharks v Force 13h05 Kings Park, Durban
Bulls v Crusaders 15h15 Loftus Versfeld
Jaguares v Sunwolves 21h40 Buenos Aires
PREMIERSHIP
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
Wasps 21 16 1 4 79
Exeter Chiefs 21 14 3 4 79
Saracens 21 16 1 4 77
Leicester Tigers 21 13 0 8 62
Bath 20 11 0 9 53
Harlequins 21 11 0 10 51
Northampton Saints 21 9 0 12 48
Gloucester 20 7 2 11 46
Newcastle Falcons 21 9 0 12 44
Sale Sharks 21 6 1 14 36
Worcester Warriors 21 5 2 14 32
Bristol 21 3 0 18 19