"10th Summer Signing" Newcastle Falcons Add London Irish Star to New-Look Squad - Ruck

“10th Summer Signing” Newcastle Falcons Add London Irish Star to New-Look Squad

Newcastle Falcons have confirmed their 10th senior squad signing, ahead of the 2023/24 Gallagher Premiership season. The Falcons have brought in London Irish scrum half Hugh O’Sullivan on a two-year deal, as they continue to build their squad ahead of next season.

O’Sullivan made 20 appearances in his two years with the London Irish, and scored twice for the Exiles in the Premiership. His two tries came against Premiership finalists Sale Sharks, as well as against play-off achievers Northampton Saints.

The 25-year-old has also previously played for Leinster, and he made 34 appearances across the United Rugby Championship, Heineken Champions Cup and Rainbow Cup. A double Leinster Schools Cup winner with Belvedere College, he came through the famed Leinster academy and has earned international recognition with Ireland Under-20s.

Speaking about his summer move to the Newcastle Falcons club website, O’Sullivan said: “I played at Kingston Park back in March when London Irish won up there, and the chance to stay in the Gallagher Premiership was a big thing for me.

“I’ve really fallen in love with the league, and compared with the URC it just feels like there’s a lot more jeopardy with anybody being able to beat anybody week to week. Every game feels like it’s a big one, and in terms of Newcastle in particular it just feels like a good time to join.

“The club’s got a really proud history – I saw their social media post the other day about being the first club to win the Premiership title 25 years ago when they’d just been promoted – and there are loads of legendary players you’d associate with the Falcons over the years.

“I’ve watched Newcastle over the past couple of seasons and there’s massive potential there. Everyone understandably goes on about the incredible wingers like Radwan and Carreras, but there’s talent right throughout the squad if we can start moving the ball around and playing a bit of rugby.

“I know the new head coach Alex Codling from when he coached my Ireland Under-18s team, and it’s an exciting time to be working with a guy like him. There’s obviously a lot of change with a number of new signings coming in, and it’s a time for the club to turn a page and move forward by trying some new things.”

The 25-year-old has signed a two-year deal to join the Falcons, who will welcome a new head coach when Alex Codling arrives next month from Oyonnax following France’s Pro D2 promotion final.

Interim head coach Mark Laycock said: “We are excited to welcome Hugh into our squad.

“He has a really strong pass, a good rugby brain and is used to playing high-tempo rugby from his time with Leinster and London Irish, so will be a welcome addition for how we want to play next season.”

Asked what supporters can expect from their club’s latest acquisition, O’Sullivan added: “Having come through the Leinster academy and been coached by Stuart Lancaster there’s been a huge emphasis on playing a quick style of rugby, and London Irish have been very much in the same mould.

“I’d be looking to try and bring that kind of tempo to the game, playing at pace, and having had some more regular Premiership game time with London Irish towards the end of the season I believe my control of the game has also been developed quite a bit.”

O’Sullivan becomes the Falcons’ tenth senior signing, following on from the announcements of Josh Bainbridge (Coventry), Louis Brown (Coventry), Bryan Byrne (Bristol Bears), Tim Cardall (Melbourne Rebels), Cameron Hutchison (Edinburgh), John Kelly (Doncaster Knights), Ollie Leatherbarrow (Exeter Chiefs), Murray McCallum (Edinburgh) and Kiran McDonald (ex-Munster).

A further five players have also signed for the Falcons’ senior academy, with Newcastle University lock Adam Scott joining England Under-18s quartet Finn Baker, Isaac Keller, Jacob Oliver and Ben Redshaw.