Newcastle Falcons have completed the signing of Italian international lock Josh Furno from French Top 14 side Biarritz Olympique.
Dean Richards’ ninth acquisition ahead of next season, Furno brings power, aggression and athleticism to the Kingston Park stage.
Capped 18 times by the Azzurri, the 24-year-old Australian-born second-row played in all five of Italy's Six Nations matches this term, scoring an impressive try against Scotland at the Stadio Olimpico.
The 6ft 7” set-piece specialist began his career with Italian outfit Viadana, before a spell with Aironi prior to a move to France where he represented Narbonne and Biarritz respectively.
Furno will be the second Italian in recent times to pull on the Falcons jersey, with Carlo del Fava having plied his trade at Kingston Park for two seasons before being forced to retire through injury earlier this year.
Today’s announcement comes just days after Tuilagi brothers [Alesana and Anitelea] were unveiled as the club’s latest additions for next season.
“I am delighted to be joining Newcastle Falcons,” said Furno.
He added: “I am really looking forward to meeting all the boys and getting down to work.
“Having competed against the very best in the Top 14 and the Rabo Direct Pro12, I am now excited to be given the opportunity to challenge myself in the Aviva Premiership.
“I will be working hard to ensure that I play my part in what promises to be an exciting future for the club.
“I spoke with Carlo del Fava and Sinoti Sinoti and they only had good things to say about the Falcons and life in Newcastle. I then spoke with Dean and I was thoroughly impressed with his vision for the club going forward.”
Newcastle director of rugby Richards said: “Josh is a fantastic signing, who is a great all-rounder when it comes to the set-piece, ball carrying and his ability in defence.
“He has international experience from his time in the Italian set-up and has performed at the highest level in domestic competition, both of which will be vital for us in the Aviva Premiership.”