Penny shines on two try debut

Monday 20 October 2014 Written by: Adam

Making his first team debut, Centre Tom Penny put his name to two of the Falcons’ seven tries during last Friday’s European Rugby Challenge Cup game.

“It was great to be out there, and I was lucky enough to get on the end of a good bit of play for both tries, which made it even more special.”

Having joined the Falcons’ Junior Academy at 12, Tom Penny signed his first full-time contract with the club at the start of the 2013-14 season.

However the 20 year old, who currently plies his trade on dual registration with National League 1 side Blaydon, admitted his first step into the starting XV was a change of pace from what he’s used to.

“It was a good game. It was fast and pretty physical as well, and was a bit of a step up from anything I’ve done before but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I was a bit tired towards the end though!”

Taking his place in the starting line-up alongside two other debutants in the form of Chris Harris and Will Witty, Penny was supported by many of his Senior Academy colleagues

“The Senior Academy is a tight group and we just want the best out of each other so you’re pushing each other constantly. When you get the chance everyone else just wants you to do your best and take those opportunities, so it was good to be surrounded by a few of the other boys.”

However in a team that also included more seasoned players such as Lee Smith, Noah Cato and Mark Wilson, Penny found it refreshing to have more experienced heads to call upon.

“It was good having a lot of senior members of the squad on the pitch as well. They’ve got that experience and can calm the game down if it’s not going to plan so I think the team had a good balance.”

Northumberland-born Penny has long been hailed as one to watch by the Falcons but had a frustrating start to the season after picking up an injury over the summer.

“I really wanted to get a good pre-season in this year to put me in contention for some of the pre-season games, but I was out for a few months at the start of the season so obviously that didn’t happen.”

However the youngster clearly impressed coaches with his rehab efforts, with Director of Rugby Dean Richards recently singling him out as a player he’d been waiting to see back to fitness.

Speaking of his ambitions for the season Penny, who is sponsored by the Newcastle Falcons Supporters Club, said: “I worked hard and hopefully playing at Blaydon and showing what I can do there will hopefully help me to get a look in for some first team games. Then it’s just about taking the chances when I get them.

“The game against Bucharest was a good one, and a bonus point win is obviously the best start we could’ve hoped for in Europe, so hopefully that means that a few of us will get another opportunity in the competition.”

Newcastle Falcons play their next game in the European Rugby Challenge Cup away to Newport Gwent Dragons this Friday (kick off 8pm) at Rodney Parade.