Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Falcons Giant Locks on to a Big Future

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Falcons Giant Locks on to a Big Future

Article excerpt

At 6ft 9in Newcastle Falcons' American lock Luke Gross is no shrinking violet, and the club is expecting big things from their giant new forward.

Capped 62 times by the USA, including two World Cups, Gross holds America's all-time appearance record at international level.

Although 34, the former Rotherham, Llanelli and Harlequins player insists that he does not have enough miles on the clock to affect his performance.

"I didn't start playing rugby until I was 24, so I'm a young oldie," says the Indiana-born second row. "My body isn't quite as beat-up as a lot of guys my age, so I'm just hoping to fit into the squad here.

"I've still got a couple of good years left in me, and I'll put it about as hard as I can when I get my boots on. I'm looking forward to being part of a team like the Falcons as it's a step up from last year at Rotherham."

Before a rugby career which saw Gross acquire legendary status with the US Eagles national team, he was actually more likely to be found shooting hoops in his university gym.

"I was a college basketball player in the States, and then I picked up rugby in graduate school," he reveals. "I see the basketball team in Newcastle is also called the Eagles, although I haven't touched a basketball in a couple of years now."

After playing every game for the USA in the 2003 Rugby World Cup, Gross featured prominently for Rotherham towards the end of last season, in a campaign which ultimately saw a spirited side make the drop to National League One. …

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