- Leicester Tigers prop joins Falcons on dual-registration
- Fly half Gopperth to move to Leinster
Newcastle Falcons have announced the signing of Kieran Brookes from Leicester Tigers on a dual-registration contract until the end of the season.
The 22-year-old prop returns to Newcastle for his second spell at the club and is in line to figure against Bedford Blues in the RFU Championship this Friday (kick-off, 8pm).
Graduating from the Falcons’ Academy, Brookes made the switch to Leicester ahead of the 2011-12 season after making 40 appearances for the North East outfit.
Capped by Ireland at Under 19 and Under 20 level as well as playing for England Under 20s in the 2010 Six Nations, the Stoke-on-Trent-born front rower adds undoubted steel to the Falcons pack.
“I am really pleased to be back in Newcastle and I am looking forward to playing regular first team rugby again,” said Brookes, who featured for England Saxons against Scotland A last month.
He added: “From first impressions I can see that there has been a lot of positive change taking place at the club since I was last here.
“There is a new coaching set-up, new medical suite and new personnel at the top, which really bodes well for the future of the club.”
Now the former Fylde RFC junior is itching to showcase his talents at Kingston Park in front of a passionate North East and Cumbria fan base.
“It will be great to get back out there in front of the Newcastle fans again, and it is an awesome feeling to walk out on to Kingston Park,” added Brookes.
Falcons director of rugby, Dean Richards, said: “Kieran is a good acquisition for the club, and he brings strong go-forward to the pack as we prepare for the end of season play-offs.”
Gopperth leaves for Leinster
Falcons announced another change in personnel with the news that fly half Jimmy Gopperth has signed for Heineken Cup champions Leinster on a two-year deal.
The 29-year-old, who has picked up backed-to-back Aviva Premiership Golden Boot awards during his four-year stint on Tyneside, will move to the RaboDirect Pro 12 outfit at the end of the current season.
On the fly half's move, Richards said: “Jimmy has been a fantastic servant for the club, and I would like to wish him all the very best for the future.
“In the meantime, Jimmy is fully focused on helping Newcastle achieve its goal of gaining promotion back to the Premiership.
“By moving to Leinster Jimmy will get the opportunity to play Heineken Cup rugby next season. Leinster is a club with rich history and tradition, and I am pleased for Jimmy that he will get the chance to test himself at the very highest level.”
Gopperth said: “Last year I could have left the Falcons after relegation, but in my heart I felt that I had to stay and help the club immediately return back to the Premiership.
“When the opportunity arose to move to the Heineken Cup champions, I felt it was the right time in my career to embark on a new challenge.”
The Kiwi No.10 made his one hundredth appearance for the Falcons in the British and Irish Cup last month.
“I have loved every moment of my time in the North East, and the fans have been amazing,” said Gopperth.
He added: “Newcastle Falcons has huge potential under ambitious owner Semore Kurdi and director of rugby Dean Richards, and I would love to see the club realise its goal of playing Heineken Cup rugby.
“It has been an exciting season under Dean so far, and there is still a job to be done as we aim to bounce back to the Premiership.
“That is my focus at the moment, and all my energy is going into helping the Falcons achieve this goal.”