Falcons sign Scottish lock Kiran McDonald

Wednesday 22 February 2023 Written by: Adam

The 28-year-old stands at 6 foot 8 (202cm) and 18 stone 4 (116kg), playing more than 50 times for Glasgow Warriors in the Heineken Champions Cup and United Rugby Championship before moving to Wasps last year.

McDonald was called up by Scotland for their summer tour in 2021 only to see all three games cancelled due to Covid, and was last year involved in their Six Nations training squad.

Leaving home town club Glasgow this season, he made four Gallagher Premiership starts for Wasps before the club were suspended from the competition in October.

Taking up a three-month deal with Munster in the interim, McDonald was part of the side as the Irish province defeated South Africa 28-14 in front of a sell-out 41,000 crowd in Cork and played for a star-studded Barbarians squad on their European tour.

He will head to North East England in July to link up with the Falcons, insisting he is relishing the prospect.

McDonald said: “Newcastle have had some great results and scored some electric tries with the quick and skilful backs they’ve got, and it’s definitely going in the right direction with the kind of rugby they want to play.

“I’ve been to Kingston Park and it’s quite an intimate setting where you can feel the crowd being close to the pitch, and that will be really good to experience. I can imagine it’s a big advantage for the boys having that support behind you, and then in terms of the weather it will be similar to what I’m used to in Glasgow.

“I’m a Scotsman so it’s not very far away from home, and my partner and I are expecting our first child in March. It’s helpful from a family side of things to be so close to Scotland, and obviously from a rugby perspective it’s a really exciting place to be.

“I’ve been watching the Falcons’ games for a while now and they’ve been playing some great stuff, so it’s exciting to be a part of that.”

Asked what he hopes to add to the squad, McDonald said: “Control around the line-out is a big thing for any second row, and I’m no different. I’m lucky to be quite athletic in the air – whether I’m calling it or just being a part of it – and I feel like I’ve got a contribution to make there.

“Around the park I like to carry and have that bit if aggression in my general play, and just give the team a bit of go-forward to get us on the front foot.”

Newcastle Falcons head coach Dave Walder said: “Kiran brings a good amount of experience and physicality to our forward pack, and we’re looking forward to him starting with us in the summer.

“He’s a big presence in the line-out who has had a taste of the Gallagher Premiership with his time at Wasps during the start of the season, and he has the attitude and work ethic that we look for from our players.”

Having endured a difficult period due to Wasps’ off-field problems, McDonald said: “It’s been a bit of a crazy few months, but I’m a big believer that everything happens for a reason.

“I’ve had a positive experience with Munster and the Barbarians, we’ve got a baby on the way and an exciting new start in Newcastle to look forward to. From what I gather it’s quite similar to Glasgow as a city in terms of the type of people and the pride they have in the area, and it’s close enough to Scotland that we can have that support network of family within arm’s reach.

“Having a few months with Munster was great. Everyone knows what a big team they are, it was a good learning opportunity and a chance to get some rugby under my belt after everything that happened with Wasps.

“It’s kept me ticking over in terms of bridging the gap between coming to Newcastle, and I’ve had some great experiences like being in the Munster team which beat South Africa in front of more than 40,000 supporters. It felt like 80,000 to be honest and was just an incredible atmosphere, and then I was also lucky enough to tour with the Barbarians.

“I played in the games against Bath and Harlequins, which was another great experience. It felt like there was no pressure and you were playing with some of the greats of the game, so it was just a chance to express yourself and take it all in.

“One of the guys on tour with the Baa-baas was Murray McCallum who is also joining Newcastle in the summer, and it will be great to have a familiar face there.

“Muzza is a great guy who I know from back home and he also has a baby, so that will be really good from a family point of view and just helpful for settling in. He’s a top player who will be big for the Falcons in a rugby sense, and it just all seems to be coming together.”

Newcastle Falcons’ season ticket renewal window is open, with general sale commencing on Wednesday March 1. [**Click here**][1] for details.

[1]: https://www.newcastlefalcons.co.uk/news/story/2023-24-season-ticket-renewals