Falcons add to front row options
June 21, 2011
Tait hopes to add to the Falcons ranks ahead of next season © Getty Images
Newcastle Falcons have bolstered their front row options with the signing of South African tight-head Ashley Wells.
Wells, who weighs in at nearly 19 stone, will add a formidable presence to the Falcons' pack as they look to bounce back after a disappointing Aviva Premiership campaign. With fellow Falcon Euan Murray set to be called up by Scotland for their World Cup campaign and with England Saxon Kieran Brookes departing for Leicester Tigers, Wells will provide competition for places in the front row.
Wells, 25, joins the Falcons from South African provincial side Wildeklawer Griquas and was part of the 2010 Stormers training squad. Newcastle head coach Alan Tait was delighted with his new acquisition. "This had been on the cards for a while as we had red tape with his visa to get through, but I am pleased to have signed him up," Tait told The Journal. "The forwards coach of the Stormers Matt Proudfoot spoke highly of him as a player who wants to listen, learn and get stuck in. His signing will not only provide the cover we need in the front-row, but also provide competition for the other players in that position."
Tait hopes to add to the nine signings he has made already this summer but admits they are finding it hard to attract players to the North East. "We are looking for more new players - especially a new centre and a back-rower," Tait said. "However, the word is out we are in the market to strengthen and getting them to sign up has not been the easiest of tasks.
"It is very difficult to get players to the North East as there is this unfair stigma about Newcastle being a cold place which is in the back end of nowhere, with players preferring to get a move to one of the clubs in the south. We have made offers to a few players but they did not want to come up to Newcastle. I will keep battling away to improve our squad so we can be ready for the new season."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
England broke their losing streak, but this was not them clawing their way back among the best, writes Tom Hamilton
Wales were just 13 minutes from a famous victory, but the lessons to be learned in defeat are almost exactly the same as those from previous near-misses, writes Huw Richards
Ahead of England's clash with Samoa, Scrum Sevens takes a wander down memory lane and celebrates seven examples of Pacific Islands magic
England must find a way to improve their game by tiny margins and they will get there, writes Phil Vickery