'Guy Pepper's Brother' - Newcastle Falcons Sign Scrum Half Max Pepper to One Year Deal - Ruck

‘Guy Pepper’s Brother’ – Newcastle Falcons Sign Scrum Half Max Pepper to One Year Deal

Newcastle Falcons have confirmed that they have agreed a one-year contract for Max Pepper, who is the brother of former Falcons flanker Guy Pepper. Max has just finished his sports science degree at Durham University, and has been a stand out player in BUCS Super Rugby this season.

The scrum half has an added versatility to fly along the wing, and has previously gained international recognition with England Students. This past season in the BUCS Super Rugby league, Pepper was named in the Team of the Season, and also took the Player of the Season award home with him.

The 23-year-old has already made two appearances for the club, scoring on his Premiership Rugby Cup debut and making his Gallagher Premiership bow. Speaking on putting pen to paper with the Falcons, Pepper expressed his delight at joining the Premiership’s most northerly club.

“I’m really excited for it, and it’s a massive opportunity for me,” said Pepper, who has trained with the Falcons on a number of occasions throughout the season.

“This year I’ve had to balance finishing my degree and playing university rugby with training and playing at the Falcons, whereas now I can give it my full focus. I’m really looking forward to that because I believe I’ll improve as a result, and it’s also great to be joining a club where I know the lads and have a decent handle on how everything operates.

“It’s a good group, the culture is really positive and I’m just excited about properly throwing myself into it.”

Consultant director of rugby Steve Diamond said: “We know exactly what we’re getting with Max because he has already trained here and played for us, and I’m happy to have him on board.

“He’s a fantastic athlete with an outstanding attitude, and it was great to see his talents being recognised with the BUCS Super Rugby Player of the Season award. He gives us options at nine and on the wing, and I’m sure we’ll see the benefit of having him here full-time.”

Explaining his existing situation with the Falcons and how he sees it developing, Pepper said: “Last summer I was brought in on a trial which was only meant to be two weeks, but they basically just said to me whenever I had a week off from university or was able to come and train, for me to head up and do it.

“That meant I trained quite a bit with the Falcons, and off the back of that a few opportunities presented themselves to play for the club in the Premiership Rugby Cup, and eventually in the Premiership itself. I got stuck into that and it was nice to have a taste of it, so to now get this chance off the back of it is fantastic.

“In terms of where I’ll fit in, I can play at scrum-half on the wing, and from the chats I’ve had with Dimes I think he values that flexibility. I’m happy to play either, and it’s just a great opportunity which I’m determined to make the most of.”

Thankful to Durham University for giving him a platform, Pepper added: “BUCS Super Rugby is definitely a route into the professional game for a number of players, and only seems to be growing.

“There’s a pretty long list now of lads who have come in and succeeded at Premiership level after coming in from uni, and the fact the games are being live-streamed has grown the audience and social media awareness.

“It’s a good platform for guys to showcase what they’re about, and it has certainly presented me with the opportunity to do that. Being at Durham University has been really enjoyable and we’ve competed at a good level, and being only 20 minutes down the road from Newcastle Falcons has also helped.”

Pepper becomes the third England Students international to sign for the Falcons this season, with Callum and Connor Hancock arriving at Kingston Park. The Leeds Beckett University twins were also named in the BUCS Super Rugby Team of the Season as props.

Falcons’ Durham University lock lock Finn Baker was also in the BUCS Super Rugby Team of the Season, while Newcastle University and Falcons hooker Ollie Fletcher scored for England Students in their recent game against French Universities.

Newcastle Falcons’ other announced signings for the 2024-25 season are Leicester Tigers fly-half Kieran Wilkinson, Gloucester wing/centre Alex Hearle, Sale Sharks back-rower Cameron Neild, Edinburgh prop Luan de Bruin and Sale Sharks centre Connor Doherty.

Five talented local players also step up to the senior academy, with the signings of centre Rhys Beeckmans, scrum-half Joe Davis, fly-half Junior Newton, back-rower Reuben Parsons and fellow back-rower Charlie Turnbull