Ollie Leatherbarrow set to join Newcastle Falcons

Tuesday 18 April 2023 Written by: Adam

Leatherbarrow, who turned 21 earlier this month, is a former Sale Sharks Under-18s captain who headed to Devon to study for an economics degree at Exeter University.

Captaining his university in the BUCS Super Rugby competition as well as representing the Chiefs, the 6 foot 1 forward said: “I’m massively excited by the move and the chance to be part of the Newcastle squad.

“It’s a big opportunity for me to become a better player and a better person in a great environment as a club, and in an exciting city.”

Qualifying for Scotland due to his grandmother coming from Perth, the back-rower explained: “I was born in Macclesfield, and my first club was Knutsford.

“I was in Sale Sharks’ academy from age 15 to 18, and then captained their Under-18s team before deciding to move down to Exeter for university.

“I played Under-16s for Scotland, the 18s stuff was cancelled due to Covid and then I came back and played two years of Under-20s for them once things started getting back to normal. I got 11 caps for the Under-20s in the end, which was a big honour, and I really enjoyed it.”

Asked what he hopes to add to the squad, Leatherbarrow said: “For the past two years while I’ve been at Exeter I’ve predominantly played No.8.

“I’d say my biggest strength is probably my ball carrying, and the contact area in general. I quite like getting stuck in there and I don’t shy away from it, and aside from that it’s just about generally working hard for the team.”

Welcoming news of the back-rower’s arrival, interim head coach Mark Laycock said: “We’re looking forward to Ollie arriving in the summer and giving us some strong go-forward, as well as further competition in the back row.

“I remember when he played against us for Sale Sharks Under-18s, and he was always a really physical and abrasive ball carrier.

“He’s been down to Exeter University and spent a couple of years with the Chiefs during that time, and it looks like he has continued along the same lines in terms of his carrying threat and what he brings to the game.”

Leatherbarrow becomes the Falcons’ sixth confirmed new arrival for next season following the previously announced signings of Murray McCallum (Edinburgh), Tim Cardall (Melbourne Rebels), Kiran McDonald (ex-Munster), Ben Redshaw (Falcons academy) and John Kelly (Doncaster Knights), with Oyonnax’s Alex Codling also set to join as head coach.


**Born:** 8/4/2002.

**Height:** 184cm (6 foot 1).

**Weight:** 105kg (16 stone 7).

**Honours:** Scotland U20s, U16s.