Ex-Falcon Manning Moves to Emirates; Kiwi Ace Relishes New Challenge in the Middle East

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Smith

JEREMY Manning has swapped the North East for the Middle East following his departure from Newcastle Falcons, the Kiwi joining Abu Dhabi Harlequins.

The 26-year-old utility back was reluctantly shown the door by Newcastle after failing to secure the necessary permits to form part of this season's Championship challenge.

Having moved to the United Arab Emirates, where he will work as a personal trainer, the versatile ex-Munster man has not given up on the game altogether. Manning has already been training with Abu Dhabi Harlequins prior to finalising his signature, joining a club fresh from their most successful ever season after winning the Gulf Top Six, UAERA Championship, UAERA Conference and reaching the finals of the Dubai Sevens.

Their season gets underway on September 28, including games against exotic names such as Jebel Ali Dragons and Arabian Knights.

Manning said: "I'm looking forward to starting a new chapter in my life.

"Being part of a great rugby club like Abu Dhabi Harlequins is an amazing bonus.

"I cannot wait to get stuck in, and hopefully if some of my experience and words of wisdom can help other players reach their potential and improve their game that will make me a happy man."

Another Falcon set for pastures new is Joe Graham, with Leeds Carnegie confirming the Cumbrian hooker is joining them on a season-long loan.

Tuesday's Journal had broken the news the 25-year-old was bound for Headingley, and the Yorkshire club have now confirmed a deal for the former Carlisle and Tynedale man, who still remains firmly on the radar of Falcons boss Dean Richards.

The director of rugby said: "Joe is a very talented player and we see this loan deal as an opportunity for him to play and get regular exposure at the highest level.

"By playing in the Championship this season Joe will be exposed to competitive rugby, with his development a real focus ahead of his return to Kingston Park. …