Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Noon to Confirm Switch to France; England Man Joins Exodus

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Noon to Confirm Switch to France; England Man Joins Exodus

Article excerpt

Byline: Nick Purewal

FALCONS stalwart Jamie Noon will confirm his France move today after completing his Brive deal.

The 29-year-old England centre is the second Falcons star to confirm a France switch after Tom May tied up his Toulon move, while Jonny Wilkinson will also finalise his Cote D'Azur deal imminently.

Like close friend May, for now Noon is keeping quiet on his final destination next term to allow Brive the official announcement as is customary.

After 241 games and 55 tries in 10 years, Noon is the latest to take up the unique opportunity afforded in France, before the impending salary cap and overseas player cap stems the flow of English stars traversing the Channel.

Noon's departure makes it six academy graduates as confirmed leavers this summer, along with May, Leicester-bound Geoff Parling, Northampton signing Phil Dowson, Bath capture Davey Wilson and Andy Buist, who is headed to London Irish.

So after Falcons boss Steve Bates got his fly-half man in Auckland Blues 10 Jimmy Gopperth, he will now turn his attentions to closing in on midfield reinforcements.

After securing the services of Filipo Levi, James Hudson, Josh Afu and Charlie Amesbury, to add to Gopperth, Bates is still relaxed about the continuing squad building that is dominating his early close-season days. While the fans will be sad to see Noon leave, Bates could hardly hold one midfield man to his contract after allowing another - May - to chase a new challenge across the pond.

Meanwhile, prolific try-scoring wing Andrew Fenby has completed his Llanelli Scarlets switch.

Despite swapping the PriceWaterhouseCoopers auditing for a try-scoring Premiership debut at Sale, then going on to score once more in Falcons colours this term, the Blaydon flyer will ply his trade in the Magners League next season.

With 73 Blaydon tries in just over three seasons, Fenby has put the chartered accountancy on hold for a crack at pro rugby.

The Falcons had plenty of opportunity to sign the Rhos-on-Sea-born Welshman, but have obviously looked elsewhere for their wide talent.

Quins winger Amesbury is already signed on for next term, while Bates is working hard on bringing in another toprated flyer. …

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