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'My journey at Bath was tough': Tian Schoeman joins Newcastle

By Kim Ekin
(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

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Bath fly-half Tian Schoeman is joining Newcastle Falcons on a three-year deal. The 30-year-old South African is already on Tyneside preparing for his official start date in the summer, with the former Cheetahs, Bulls and Bordeaux man recovering from a knee injury.

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“My contract starts in July, but I’m up here already and we have got a house sorted in Newcastle,” said Schoeman. “I’ll be up here rehabbing my knee and making sure everything is right for the start of pre-season, getting properly settled in the area, and I’m looking forward to it.”

“I have only heard good things about Newcastle, both as a city and a club. I know some of the guys who are already playing up here, like Philip van der Walt and Louis Schreuder, and they have spoken really highly about the Falcons. I’m really looking forward to playing here, and having had more than a year at Bath I’m gradually getting used to the British weather!”

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Born and raised in Pretoria, Schoeman spent six years with the Bulls and Blue Bulls before heading to France for a season with Bordeaux, returning to South Africa where he starred for the Cheetahs in the PRO14 prior to joining Bath.

“Playing in South Africa is a completely different game with the hot weather and hard pitches, which is why South African teams can sometimes struggle when they go overseas,” he said.

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“It’s a bit more of an arm wrestle over here at times, having to grind it out, but through playing in the PRO14 with the Cheetahs, and also my time at Bordeaux, I’d like to think I have learned a few things about adapting to northern hemisphere rugby. That said, I do have a South African mentality in wanting to run with the ball and keep it in hand rather than kicking it all the time. 

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“I want to bring some flair and an attacking mindset, and I really back myself with the ball. Hopefully, I can transfer that into the team once I start properly in the summer, and I’m really happy to be up here.”

Keen to kick on from an injury-affected spell at Bath which saw him suffering a knee injury, he explained: “My journey at Bath was tough with coming over in January 2021, playing five games and then suffering a serious injury – ironically here at Newcastle. It’s been good from a family point of view, but Newcastle is a fresh start for me and I can’t wait to get started.

“I love to watch rugby and I have seen most of the Falcons games this season. They had a brilliant start and one of their things throughout has always been to have a great pack of forwards. You get a lot of front-foot ball playing behind those guys and as a fly-half that excites me.”

Newcastle Falcons director of rugby Dean Richards welcomed news of Schoeman’s arrival, saying: “Tian is a quality player who brings the skill set and attacking ambition that we want from a fly-half.

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“He has performed to a consistently high level over a number of years, and despite suffering an injury setback at Bath he has been working incredibly hard to ensure he starts with us in good condition and with a clean bill of health.”

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