London Irish scrum-half signs for Newcastle Falcons

Tuesday 23 May 2023 Written by: Adam

The 25-year-old has signed a two-year deal to join the Falcons, who will welcome a new head coach when Alex Codling arrives next month from Oyonnax following France’s Pro D2 promotion final.

Interim head coach Mark Laycock said: “We are excited to welcome Hugh into our squad.

“He has a really strong pass, a good rugby brain and is used to playing high-tempo rugby from his time with Leinster and London Irish, so will be a welcome addition for how we want to play next season.”

O’Sullivan made 20 appearances in his two years with the Exiles, starting and scoring a try in March’s impressive home win over Gallagher Premiership finalists Sale Sharks before going on to earn another start a fortnight later when they defeated semi-finalists Northampton Saints.

Scoring a further two tries for London Irish in cup action, his Leinster exploits included Heineken Champions Cup outings against Exeter, Toulouse and Wasps as well as a further 34 appearances in the URC and Rainbow Cup.

A double Leinster Schools Cup winner with Belvedere College, he came through the famed Leinster academy and has earned international recognition with Ireland Under-20s.

Speaking about his summer move to the North East, O’Sullivan said: “I played at Kingston Park back in March when London Irish won up there, and the chance to stay in the Gallagher Premiership was a big thing for me.

“I’ve really fallen in love with the league, and compared with the URC it just feels like there’s a lot more jeopardy with anybody being able to beat anybody week to week. Every game feels like it’s a big one, and in terms of Newcastle in particular it just feels like a good time to join.

“The club’s got a really proud history – I saw their social media post the other day about being the first club to win the Premiership title 25 years ago when they’d just been promoted – and there are loads of legendary players you’d associate with the Falcons over the years.

“I’ve watched Newcastle over the past couple of seasons and there’s massive potential there. Everyone understandably goes on about the incredible wingers like Radwan and Carreras, but there’s talent right throughout the squad if we can start moving the ball around and playing a bit of rugby.

“I know the new head coach Alex Codling from when he coached my Ireland Under-18s team, and it’s an exciting time to be working with a guy like him. There’s obviously a lot of change with a number of new signings coming in, and it’s a time for the club to turn a page and move forward by trying some new things.”

Asked what supporters can expect from their club’s latest acquisition, O’Sullivan added: “Having come through the Leinster academy and been coached by Stuart Lancaster there’s been a huge emphasis on playing a quick style of rugby, and London Irish have been very much in the same mould.

“I’d be looking to try and bring that kind of tempo to the game, playing at pace, and having had some more regular Premiership game time with London Irish towards the end of the season I believe my control of the game has also been developed quite a bit.”

O’Sullivan becomes the Falcons’ tenth senior signing, following on from the announcements of Josh Bainbridge (Coventry), Louis Brown (Coventry), Bryan Byrne (Bristol Bears), Tim Cardall (Melbourne Rebels), Cameron Hutchison (Edinburgh), John Kelly (Doncaster Knights), Ollie Leatherbarrow (Exeter Chiefs), Murray McCallum (Edinburgh) and Kiran McDonald (ex-Munster).

A further five players have also signed for the Falcons’ senior academy, with Newcastle University lock Adam Scott joining England Under-18s quartet Finn Baker, Isaac Keller, Jacob Oliver and Ben Redshaw.

Season tickets for 2023-24 are on sale now by clicking [**here**][1], with a further player signing to be announced at the fans’ forum on Monday June 12. Details of the event, including how you can book your place, can be found [**here**][2].


**Born:** 24/2/98

**Height:** 1.78m (5ft 9)

**Weight:** 84kg (13st 3)

**Honours:** Ireland Under-20s, U18s