Newcastle Falcons senior academy pair Rob Farrar and Josh Basham have been promoted to the first team squad for next season, with the senior academy welcoming five exciting new signings.
Back-five forward Farrar and back-rower Basham have both represented England at Under-20s level, both making their Gallagher Premiership debuts for the Falcons this season.
Whitehaven-born Farrar scored on his first team debut against Hartpury back in November 2019, and has so far made five senior appearances, while former London Irish flanker Basham scored his first Falcons try in December’s European Challenge Cup win at French side Castres.
Illustrating their commitment to promoting homegrown players, Newcastle have averaged 12 academy graduates in their first team match-day squads this season, and the future continues to look bright with another five local players earning their first senior academy contracts.
The new signings are:
OLLIE FLETCHER (Hooker, 9/9/2002, Tynedale RFC and Newcastle School for Boys)
A Northumberland Developing Player Pathway (DPP) graduate with excellent game understanding, Ollie has represented the Falcons at all age groups and was called into the England Under-18s set up this season. A very accomplished cricketer, Ollie chose to pursue the oval ball, and since converting from back-row to hooker at Under-16 level he has made great strides forward. He hopes to study Psychology alongside his rugby programme.
MARCUS TIFFEN (Back row, 3/9/2002, Carlisle RFC and Newcastle University)
Educated at Austin Friars School in Carlisle, Marcus finished his A-Levels a year early and embarked upon a Maths degree at Newcastle University at the age of 17 during the lockdown of 2020. The versatile back-rower came through the Cumbria DPP pathway and will combine professional rugby with his studies. Marcus recently featured in the Falcons’ A-Team game against England Under-20s, helping Newcastle to a 43-22 victory.
GUY PEPPER (Back row, 15/4/2003, Barnard Castle School, Barnard Castle RFC)
Born in Harrogate, Guy came through the Falcons’ Junior Academy and has been a regular in the England age grade teams over recent seasons. The traditional openside flanker has been mentored by England legend Richard Hill and starred in last season’s Academy Under-18s League campaign. He made his first A-Team appearance against Sale Jets in April and plans to study at Durham University.
LOUIE JOHNSON (Fly-half, 13/6/2003, Penrith RFC and Sedbergh School)
Louie started his DPP journey in Cumbria a year earlier than most, at the age of 12. He featured in all the Falcons’ age group teams and moved to Sedbergh School for Sixth Form. A central figure for England Under-18s, Louie played for the Falcons A-Team against England Under-20s earlier this season, scoring a sensational solo counter-attack try from 50 metres out to make his mark on the adult game.
EWAN GREENLAW (Centre, 14/3/2003, Horden RFC and Durham School)
Born in Sunderland, Ewan has been a physical presence throughout his academy journey at inside and outside centre. The England age grade player has represented the Falcons since he was an Under-15, having progressed through the Durham DPP, and featured in the Falcons’ recent win over England Under-20s. He hopes to study Medicine at Sunderland University alongside a professional sporting career.