Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Harden Keen to Leave on a High; SCRUM DOWN Tynedale Prop Rupert Harden Will Ply His Trade in the Premiership at Gloucester Next Year. the Former Newcastle Academy Tighthead Told Nick Purewal How the Corbridge Club Helped Him Back to the Big Time

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Harden Keen to Leave on a High; SCRUM DOWN Tynedale Prop Rupert Harden Will Ply His Trade in the Premiership at Gloucester Next Year. the Former Newcastle Academy Tighthead Told Nick Purewal How the Corbridge Club Helped Him Back to the Big Time

Article excerpt

Byline: NICK PUREWAL

PUTTING in the groundwork for Tynedale's success seems nothing but a fair trade for Rupert Harden.

The 23-year-old Australian-born prop mixed his youth between London, Rugby School and Cumbria, but has spent this year mixing it with National League Two's finest.

Released from the Falcons academy at the back end of last season, Harden agreed to stick on with National Three North champions Tynedale, where he had been on loan.

If the Corbridge side provided the platform for his impending Premiership club return, he has played an extra role in Tynedale's surge to their highest ever league placing.

Packing down to provide the on-pitch platform in the No 3 shirt, Harden also provides match preparation of a different kind, through his role as Tynedale Park groundsman.

Specifically it was two good showings against Cinderford in National Two that handed Newcastle University graduate Harden his Kingsholm chance.

But without Tynedale's support network and coaching, Harden said it would never have happened.

"Cinderford are one of Gloucester's feeder clubs and their coach spoke to me after the second time we had played them," the England Counties man explained. "He talked to me about what I would be doing next year and it has just moved from there.

"Newcastle let me go at the end of last season and I spoke then with John Shotton about what my options were.

"Tynedale offered me the position of groundsman and the chance to stay in the North East and keep playing for them. And it seemed like a great idea to stay and just see what happened.

"That's paid off and I'm massively in Tynedale's debt for that. I never really thought I would be able to make a career out of rugby, at school we were never that good. But Micky Ward was coaching us at uni and he suggested I go down to the Falcons, and things moved on from there.

"Of course it was gutting to be released from Newcastle, but the chance to stay at Tynedale was a big one.

"Gloucester have given me a one-year contract, and as I'm unproven I have to go down there and wait my turn really.

They've got Greg Somerville there who is one of the best tightheads in the world, I would expect I'll probably go on loan to Moseley for game-time. …

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