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Disappointed Newcastle confirm Guy Pepper exit: 'Life goes on'

By Ian Cameron
Newcastle Falcons' Guy Pepper during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby match between Exeter Chiefs and Newcastle Falcons at Sandy Park on March 23, 2024 in Exeter, England.(Photo by Bob Bradford - CameraSport via Getty Images)

Newcastle Falcons have confirmed that star flanker Guy Pepper will leave the club in the summer to join Gallagher Premiership rivals Bath – a move first reported by RugbyPass.

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Althought the 20-year-old academey product has made just 23 appearances for the Falcons he has fast established himself as one of the club’s brightest talents in what has been a difficult season for the side.

Standing at 6ft 3in, in his breakout 2022/23 season, he scored three tries in just seven games. His performance earned him a spot on England A, where he contributed to a victory over Portugal in February. Following this, he was named in England’s training squad for the Six Nations finale against France by coach Steve Borthwick.

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Pepper – who hails from a rugby family—his father an ex-Harlequins player and his brother a GB Sevens player — will join Bath for the 2024/25 season until at least the summer of 2027.

Newcastle Falcons chairman of rugby Matt Thompson said: “We share our supporters’ disappointment at Guy’s decision to move on, but of course we wish him the best of luck down at Bath.

“He has done really well for us and we made him an excellent offer to commit to Newcastle Falcons, who have developed, supported him and given him a platform to make his senior breakthrough.

“Life goes on, though, and we are putting systems in place to ensure our best young talent will remain with the club for many years to come.”

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Head of Rugby, Johann van Graan, said: “Guy is one of the most talented and exciting back rowers in the English game. His hunger to improve and develop is evident and I believe he will be a big part of our team in the years to come.”

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J
Jon 1 days ago
Why Sam Cane's path to retirement is perfect for him and the All Blacks

> It would be best described as an elegant solution to what was potentially going to be a significant problem for new All Blacks coach Scott Robertson. It is a problem the mad population of New Zealand will have to cope with more and more as All Blacks are able to continue their careers in NZ post RWCs. It will not be a problem for coaches, who are always going to start a campaign with the captain for the next WC in mind. > Cane, despite his warrior spirit, his undoubted commitment to every team he played for and unforgettable heroics against Ireland in last year’s World Cup quarter-final, was never unanimously admired or respected within New Zealand while he was in the role. Neither was McCaw, he was considered far too passive a captain and then out of form until his last world cup where everyone opinions changed, just like they would have if Cane had won the WC. > It was never easy to see where Cane, or even if, he would fit into Robertson’s squad given the new coach will want to be building a new-look team with 2027 in mind. > Cane will win his selections on merit and come the end of the year, he’ll sign off, he hopes, with 100 caps and maybe even, at last, universal public appreciation for what was a special career. No, he won’t. Those returning from Japan have already earned the right to retain their jersey, it’s in their contract. Cane would have been playing against England if he was ready, and found it very hard to keep his place. Perform, and they keep it however. Very easy to see where Cane could have fit, very hard to see how he could have accomplished it choosing this year as his sabbatical instead of 2025, and that’s how it played out (though I assume we now know what when NZR said they were allowing him to move his sabbatical forward and return to NZ next year, they had actually agreed to simply select him for the All Blacks from overseas, without any chance he was going to play in NZ again). With a mammoth season of 15 All Black games they might as well get some value out of his years contract, though even with him being of equal character to Richie, I don’t think they should guarantee him his 100 caps. That’s not what the All Blacks should be about. He absolutely has to play winning football.

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