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Hodgson bulks up for Falcons
ESPNscrum Staff
July 28, 2011
Newcastle's Joel Hodgson gets the ball away, Exeter v Newcastle, Amlin Challenge Cup, Sandy Park, Exeter, England, December 11, 2010
Hodgson will hope to make an impact during the 2011-12 season after starring for Whitgift at school level © Getty Images
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Newcastle Falcons starlet Joel Hodgson has spent his summer piling on the pounds - and admits he is ready to throw his weight around at the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Premiership Rugby 7s.

The diminutive fly-half, 19 next week, has been working overtime with nutritionist Nick Morgan in a bid to help his slender frame cope with the rigours of the modern game. And having missed the nail biting end to last season - in which Alan Tait's men survived in the Premiership by the skin of their teeth - with an ankle injury Hodgson is desperate to taste competitive action once again.

"It's April since I've played in a match and that's too long - I hate watching so Friday can't come soon enough," said Hodgson. "I've been really busy in rehab and pre-season and feel really fit and raring to go and to move my game to the next level.

"I couldn't really have worked any harder on my game over the last few months and I just want time on the pitch to see how my skills and decision making are going.

"A lot of people have talked about my physique so I'm trying to improve it as best I can by working hard in the gym and eating the right meals. I've been trying to get as many calories as possible into my body and I've already noticed the changes in my body shape. There's still work to do to get to the target Nick (Morgan) has set me but that shouldn't be too much of a problem."

Hodgson made his first start in the senior ranks last season in the Amlin Challenge Cup and is highly thought of as one of the stars of the future at Kingston Park. A temporary switch to Tynedale in National One also aided his progress and Hodgson has vowed to repay the faith shown in him by Falcons boss Tait.

The Falcons will go up against Leicester, Worcester and Sale on Friday and Hodgson added: "This is a great place to show people what you can do and as a club we've got a good record in the competition so we want to continue that.

"I'm not going to put any pressure on myself by saying I'm going to do this and that this season but me and Alan know where we want to go. He's drawn up a programme for me to follow this season and that involves being in and around the first team, which is a great boost for me. I didn't expect to get as much first-team action as I did last season so to get more would be fantastic."

Tickets for every round of the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Premiership Rugby 7s Series are available through Ticketmaster or by calling 0844 847 2492

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