Doncaster forward John Kelly heading to Newcastle

Thursday 13 April 2023 Written by: Adam

The 27-year-old Englishman has spent the past three seasons with the Championship club, and is relishing the prospect of stepping up a league.

“I’m really excited about the move because my ambition has always been to play in the Premiership,” said Kelly.

“That’s one of the main things, and then for Newcastle in particular it feels like a bit of a new group and a fresh start up there with some of the plans they’re putting in place.”

Asked what he hopes to bring to the squad and where he prefers playing, the versatile forward said: “I’d hope to add some ball-carrying in attack and some big hits in defence, but it’s just about working hard and looking to improve all the time.

“I’m happy playing anywhere from 4 to 8, but if you put me on the spot I’d probably say 6 or 8 would be my preference.

“I’ll happily go wherever I’m needed and where I’m most effective for the team, and if that means playing second row then it’s absolutely not a problem.”

Standing at 193 cm (6 foot 4) and 120 kg (18 stone 12), Kelly’s sporting journey has seen a steady progression up the English rugby ladder.

“Both of my parents are in the Army so we moved around a lot when I was younger, but I settled at Lucton School in Herefordshire and played club rugby for Luctonians,” he said.

“I made more than 50 appearances for them then went down to Plymouth Albion, where I played another 50, and I’m coming up to 50 now for Doncaster after three seasons here in the Championship, which I’ve really enjoyed.”

Newcastle Falcons’ interim head coach Mark Laycock, welcoming news of Kelly’s arrival, said: “John has been on our radar for a while now and it’s great to have finally got the move sorted.

“He gives us a number of options in the back row and second row, and brings a lot of physicality to the game.

“He’s a hard worker who should fit well into our systems, and we’re looking forward to working with him when he arrives for pre-season.”

Kelly becomes the Falcons’ fifth confirmed new signing for next season, joining Edinburgh prop Murray McCallum, Melbourne Rebels lock Tim Cardall, ex-Munster lock Kiran McDonald and England Under-18s captain Ben Redshaw, who plays centre or full-back.


**Born:** 11/10/1995

**Height:** 193cm (6 foot 4)

**Weight:** 120kg (18 stone 12)

*Photo courtesy of John Ashton.*