Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

More Signs of Stability and Future Growth

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

More Signs of Stability and Future Growth

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Smith ? (0191) 201-6432 ? mark.smith@ncjmedia.co.uk

ON the day the Aviva Premiership fixtures are announced, Newcastle Falcons' sense of stability has been further reinforced by new contracts for wing duo Ryan Shortland and Noah Cato.

The pair started both legs of the Falcons' victorious RFU Championship play-off final win over Bedford, and will make the journey with them back to the top flight after a single season in the second tier of English rugby.

Shortland, 27, has agreed a one-year extension to remain at Kingston Park, saying: "I really enjoyed the atmosphere around the club last season, and the positive vibe has continued throughout pre-season.

"That is one of the reasons why I have decided to commit my future to Newcastle. We are now back into preseason training, and I cannot wait for the Aviva Premiership season to kick off."

The Kiwi, who has played Rugby League in Australia and New Zealand, scored one of two Falcons tries in the decisive second leg of their Championship final, and has been rewarded for a solid campaign. The former Otago man featured regularly when fit, scoring the winning try at Leeds and a brace in the British and Irish Cup drubbing of Nottingham.

Cato, 25, joined the Falcons from Northampton Saints in March, marking his debut with an injury-time winner in the home date with Bedford.

Going on to score in the British and Irish Cup semi-final against the same opposition, the ex-Saracens and England Sevens cap has now made the move a permanent one by agreeing a new two-year deal.

Both he and Shortland form part of a back-three stable including Alex Tait and Tom Catterick, the versatile academy products who themselves yesterday renewed terms, signing two-year extensions.

But with Luke Fielden leaving for the England Sevens squad and Tongan international Suka Hufanga out of contract, Dean Richards has moved to secure his remaining wing stocks. The director of rugby will also be boosted by the presence of teenage sensation Zach Kibirige, the England Under-18s international who has recently completed his A-Levels at Yarm School. …

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