Callum Chick commits to Falcons with new contract

Wednesday 19 April 2023 Written by: Adam

The Ponteland native has risen through the Falcons’ system and been capped by England, with the 26-year-old back-rower eager to add to his 123 appearances.

Scoring 19 tries for the Falcons, the former England Under-20s captain insisted the chance to be part of his home club’s evolution under incoming head coach Alex Codling was just too good to turn down.

“It’s been a strange year for the club with lots of changes going on, but with Alex coming in I believe it’s an exciting time for us,” said Chick, who came through the Falcons’ ACE programme at Gosforth Academy.

“I’ve had some conversations with him and he’s very much wanting to move the club forward in the right way, and is keen for me to be a part of that.

“I worked with him when we were both with the England squad in that summer of 2021, and he was the line-out coach. He’s a really good coach, currently doing a fantastic job with Oyonnax, and hopefully he can come across and shake things up a bit.

“It’s a new voice bringing some new experiences to the players, and hopefully it will get the best out of us.”

Chick’s affinity with his native area played no small part in the decision, with the back-row forward explaining: “It’s exciting for me as a local lad to be playing for my home town team on the Premiership stage, and I want to be a part of the success of the Falcons.

“The fact that this is my boyhood club and my home area was a massive factor in the end, and I’m fully committed to helping us push on and eventually be in a position to win things.

“As much as I’ve said it’s a period of change for the club, we’ve still got that homegrown core that you always associate with Newcastle Falcons.

“You’ve got guys like Jamie Blamire, Adam Radwan, Ben Stevenson and the like all coming through the system and committing to new deals, and players like Brett Connon and Tom Penny who are already under contract, to name just a few.

“Local lads are a massive part of our identity along with the guys who come in from outside and add so much to the group, and we always want to retain that.

“They’re a huge part of what we’re about as a club, and if people see those local guys coming through and doing well for the Falcons then it just helps everything to keep on growing in a really positive fashion.”

Interim head coach Mark Laycock welcomed news of Chick’s extension, saying: “I’m over the moon that Chicky has committed his future to the club, as I know our supporters will be.

“He’s been in exceptional form over the last few months, he’s a brilliant leader for us and I know he’ll set a strong standard for the future as we look to move the club forward.

“We often talk about our local players but it’s great to have someone who is so homegrown – he grew up just across the field here – choosing to stick around.”

Elaborating on the back-rower’s rugby journey – playing for the same club as his father, Brian – Laycock added: “My understanding is that Chicky is the first player to play Premiership rugby who was spotted at the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup, which is a tournament where local junior teams come into their nearest Premiership club and play against each other.

“My first sighting of him was playing on the back pitches at Kingston Park for Ponteland RFC when he was 11 – actually against Jonny McPhillips, who also ended up coming through and having a professional rugby career. That was when we first spotted him, and he joined the academy when he was 12.

“He’s come all the way through with us and was part of our ACE programme at Gosforth Academy, which has done so well in bringing state school kids through to the professional game. He’s done exceptionally well with his England age-group stuff and gone on to get capped by the full national side, and it’s a great story backed up by talent and hard work.”

Newcastle Falcons are next in action on Friday night when they host Northampton Saints in the final home game of the season.

[**Click here**][1] to buy tickets for the Gallagher Premiership clash, which is a 7.45pm kick-off.