Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Deano Will Not Bypass Academy; Falcons Youth Will Blossom, Says Mark

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Deano Will Not Bypass Academy; Falcons Youth Will Blossom, Says Mark

Article excerpt

THE arrival of Dean Richards as director of rugby will not diminish Newcastle Falcons' commitment to bringing through the next generation of local talent, writes MARK SMITH.

Despite the bulk of Richards' early buys being towards the latter end of their careers and many coming from outside English borders, the long-term vision of the incoming boss remains a core of regional players representing their home area.

Falcons academy manager Mark Laycock said: "We are working on the one hand to bolster the numbers in our academy, but secondly to keep the quality as high as possible.

"We have a new coaching team coming in with Dean starting as director of rugby in August, and while we can't sit down with him until then all the indications are that he is very much in favour of the approach we are taking.

"The understanding is that he will want a strong local contingent to be an important feature of his time here, and there will definitely be opportunities for home-grown talent to put their hands up.

"The challenge for us as an academy is to make sure that the lads can stand their ground and cope with those pressures when they do get the chance, and we have got some good players joining us this year."

Revealing the latest influx to come through the Kingston Park doors, Laycock said: "Scott Wilson is an England Under-18s prop who has come through our system and signed senior academy terms for next season, while James Hallam, also a prop, is a good prospect who has done well for a very successful Durham University side.

"Chris Harris has been playing centre for Tynedale and joins us while he plays the last of his three years at Northumbria University, and Johnny Burn who plays scrum-half will be with us again as he returns from what has been a real long-term injury.

"He is an Alnwick boy who is finishing his A-Levels at Sedbergh, and in addition to those lads we will also have a flow of others coming to train with us on what will effectively be a trial basis. …

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