Newcastle Falcons have landed Argentine centre Juan Pablo Socino from Rotherham Titans, while burgeoning talents Dom Barrow and Scott Wilson have signed two-year contract extensions the club announced today.
The new signings were unveiled at this evening’s fans forum which saw chairman Semore Kurdi, director of rugby Dean Richards and commercial consultant Mick Hogan take questions from supporters.
Socino, 25, who leads the RFU Championship top points scoring charts, has penned a two-year deal at Kingston Park. The Buenos Aires-born goal-kicking sensation has played an integral part in Rotherham’s quest for a place in the top four with his explosive attacking prowess and nerves of steel with the boot.
“It’s a dream come true to move to Newcastle Falcons and play in the Aviva Premiership,” said Socino.
“My biggest dream is to get myself in contention for Argentina, and playing for Newcastle will enhance my chances,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Falcons have secured the services of second-row Barrow and tighthead Wilson for a further two years as the club builds for the future. The duo both played prominent roles in England Under-20s’ Junior World Cup success of last year, with Wilson continuing his international exploits by earning a call-up to the England Saxons squad this term.
Sheffield-born Barrow, who celebrates his 21st birthday tomorrow, joined Newcastle last summer hot on the heels of being crowned Junior World Cup champions. The Leeds Carnegie Academy product hit the ground running for his new club with a string of impressive displays for Dean Richards’ men before injury put paid to his season.
Making his Aviva Premiership debut against Bath Rugby at Kingston Park on the opening weekend of this campaign, Barrow has already underlined his credentials as a leading Premiership second-row.
“I was grateful to Newcastle when they gave me the chance to play in the Aviva Premiership, and I want to repay the club for the faith they have shown in me,” said Barrow.
“Dean has big plans for the club and I want to be playing at the highest level with Newcastle Falcons week in week out,” he added.
Signing on the dotted line alongside Barrow, Wilson, 19, has made a phenomenal start to 2014. Featuring in both of the Saxons’ matches against Ireland Wolfhounds and Scotland ‘A’, Wilson was in fine fettle for England Under-20s just over a week ago as they defeated Wales Under-20s 67-7.
Since making his Falcons bow in a British & Irish Cup clash at home to Cross Keys last season, Wilson has never looked back. The former Sedbergh School pupil was heavily involved in Newcastle’s immediate return to the Premiership, and has continued his growing potential in English rugby’s top-flight this season to deservedly put himself in the international reckoning.
“I’ve had a great start to the year, especially with my call-up to the Saxons and I’m enjoying my rugby at the moment,” said Wilson.
He added: “There is a lot of competition for a starting place in the front-row, but it’s competition that I’m relishing and hopefully I can continue to go from strength-to-strength.”
Falcons boss Richards said: “I’m delighted to have secured the services of two of our most promising youngsters in Dom and Scott, and Juan Pablo is a quality acquisition as we build for the future.
“We have been tracking Juan Pablo’s progress for quite some time now and I’m looking forward to welcoming him to Kingston Park.”