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Irish relegation confirms move for starlet who could represent England, Wales or Scotland

By Alex Shaw
Johnny Williams

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With London Irish’s relegation from the Aviva Premiership confirmed today following Worcester Warriors’ bonus point win over Harlequins, RugbyPass can reveal that centre Johnny Williams will join Newcastle Falcons next season.

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Whilst Irish have moved to secure many of their senior players for at least one campaign in the Greene King IPA Championship, Williams will join Joe Cokanasiga in leaving the club at the conclusion of this campaign.

The 21-year-old centre has been a hot property over the last couple of years, following impressive spells with the Wales U16 and England U17, U18 and U20 sides, and began to make a name for himself at the senior level when he featured impressively for Irish in the 2015/16 season, despite the club ultimately being relegated.

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He stuck with the Exiles the following season and helped them return to the Premiership at the first time of asking, but with aspirations to play international rugby, he will be one of the talented youngsters to exercise the relegation release clauses in their contracts and leave the Reading-based club.

The RFU will be glad to see Williams head north-east to join up with Dean Richards in Newcastle, with the centre also eligible to play for both Wales and Scotland and though playing in the Premiership does not preclude either of those nations from selecting him, it does keep him eligible for England selection.

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The move to Newcastle will see Williams bolster the club’s centre stocks, competing with Maxime Mermoz, Josh and Joel Matavesi and Chris Harris for a starting spot, as well as helping fill the void left by the departing Juan Pablo Socino.

With the Falcons sitting in a playoff spot and capable of luring a player of Williams’ talent to Kingston Park, it seemingly marks the end of the club’s role as a supplier of talent to other Premiership sides and establishes them as a club where players, both homegrown and from elsewhere, can achieve their ambitions.

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