Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Falcons Swoop to Land Soaring Eagle

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Falcons Swoop to Land Soaring Eagle

Article excerpt

Byline: By Alan Hedley

Rob Andrew is set to unveil another international signing today ( although not Australian star Matt Burke.

The Falcons are confident they will be able to announce the capture of Burke later this week, but The Journal understands Andrew will unveil US Eagles second row Luke Gross today.

With internationals Mark Andrews and Garath Archer both retiring at the end of last season, the Falcons have been looking a little light in the second row department despite the signing of Connacht's Mike McCarthy to play alongside Stuart Grimes and Craig Hamilton.

McCarthy can play second row but is seen as more of a back row prospect, but Gross (pictured below left), America's most capped player, is a second row who stands 6ft 9in and weighs in at 19st.

Andrew's big signings so far, with the exception of McCarthy, have been in the back row and front row, with Samoan skipper Semo Sititi and Wales captain Colin Charvis plus England hooker Andy Long, but the signing of Gross, who has played for Llanelli and Rotherham, will add real beef to the Falcons' engine room.

It's been confirmed that Newcastle will open the new Premiership season at newly promoted Worcester on the weekend of September 4.

The Falcons' Heineken Cup and Powergen Cup opponents are not yet known, but the league season will start with two road trips, with Worcester and then Bath on the weekend of September 11.

Newcastle's first home game on September 19 will be against Harlequins, and two away games to kick off the season will help Newcastle as they are hoping to make further improvements to the East stand.

Manager Rob Andrew said: "We welcome Worcester to the top flight and we look forward to opening the season at Sixways.

"We have brought new signings into the club and are looking forward to an exciting campaign."

Falcons lock Craig Hamilton has been named in the Scotland team to face the New South Wales Waratahs in Sydney today. …

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