Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Shortland Will Provide a Dose of Physicality; Menacing Wide Man to Join Falcons over the Summer

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Shortland Will Provide a Dose of Physicality; Menacing Wide Man to Join Falcons over the Summer

Article excerpt

NEWCASTLE Falcons have unveiled Ryan Shortland as their latest recruit, with the 25-year-old outside-back joining for the start of pre-season in June, writes MARK SMITH.

The 6ft 1in signing is equally at home on the wing or at outside centre, and has starred for Otago in this season's National Provincial Championship in New Zealand.

Born on Kiwi soil but raised in Sydney, Shortland initially rose to prominence in rugby league - featuring for both the Melbourne Storm and New Zealand Warriors before switching to the 15-man code.

A former Super 14 cap for the Highlanders, he narrowly missed out on selection for this season's newly-renamed Super 15 competition, despite being included in their wider training squad. Currently with New South Wales in Australia and starring for their secondstring, Shortland runs out for the Junior Waratahs tomorrow as they take on the Brumbies, having featured in the Pacific Rugby Cup for the Sydney-based side.

The physical wide man will likely slot into the Falcons squad at the expense of Gcobani Bobo, with the former Springbok set to move on in the summer after a largely disappointing spell on Tyneside.

Head coach Alan Tait has made no bones about his quest to further bolster the Newcastle back-line but, for the meantime, is just happy to have secured his man in Shortland.

"We have been looking for a few months now for somebody to give us a real physical threat down the wing and outside centre channels, and we believe we have got a good acquisition on board with Ryan," said Tait.

An added bonus for the Falcons is that Shortland is English-qualified on ancestral grounds, meaning that his arrival will not jeopardise the club's bid to maximise the funds available from the Rugby Football Union for those clubs making players available to the English national side. …

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