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Newcastle confirm 15 leavers, including Mulipola, Fearns, Robinson

By Liam Heagney
Newcastle's Logovi’i Mulipola (Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)

Respective USA, Samoa and Scotland internationals Greg Peterson, Logovi’i Mulipola and Gary Graham have been included on the list of 15 players leaving Newcastle this summer, a group that also includes Carl Fearns and Sean Robinson. The Falcons are undergoing a wholesale revamp ahead of the arrival of new head coach Alex Codling and the confirmed departures file has emerged following the recent signing of 10 new players for the 2023/24 season.

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A statement read: “Newcastle Falcons have confirmed the players who are leaving this summer as the club looks ahead to the 2023/24 season. A total of 15 first-team squad members depart with the thanks and best wishes of the club, with ten new signings already announced.

“The players leaving Kingston Park this summer are: Conrad Cade, Connor Collett, Matthew Dalton, Carl Fearns, Gary Graham, Conor Kenny, Pete Lucock, Tom Marshall, Logovi’i Mulipola, Cameron Nordli-Kelemeti, Greg Peterson, Sean Robinson, Alex Tait, Will Welch and Michael Young.

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“Double centurions Tait and Welch have already announced their intention to pursue a career in finance after retiring from the game. Scrum-half Young departs after reaching the 200-appearance mark during his two spells at Kingston Park, captaining the club on a number of occasions and providing vital leadership on and off the field.

“Lock-forward Sean Robinson moves on after playing 135 times, nine of them this season, while Gary Graham’s six seasons with the Falcons have seen him appearing 95 times, seven of which came during 2022/23.

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“USA lock Greg Peterson leaves with 75 games to his name, while Samoan prop Mulipola departs having played 79 times over five seasons. Five senior academy players will also leave the club during the summer, with James Blackett, Jeremy Civil, Ewan Greenlaw, Chidera Obonna and Charlie Smith all moving on.

“Newcastle have so far announced 10 new additions to the first-team squad next season under incoming head coach Alex Codling (Oyonnax), with the signings of Josh Bainbridge (Coventry), Louis Brown (Coventry), Bryan Byrne (Bristol Bears), Tim Cardall (Melbourne Rebels), Cameron Hutchison (Edinburgh), John Kelly (Doncaster Knights), Ollie Leatherbarrow (Exeter Chiefs), Murray McCallum (Edinburgh), Kiran McDonald (ex-Munster) and Hugh O’Sullivan (London Irish). A further first-team signing will be announced at the upcoming fans’ forum on Monday, June 12.

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“Five players have been added to the senior academy squad in the form of England U18s internationals Finn Baker, Isaac Keller, Jacob Oliver and Ben Redshaw, as well as Newcastle University’s Adam Scott.”

Chairman of rugby Matt Thompson said: “I would like to thank all of the guys who are moving on during the summer and wish them all the best for the future. They have given great service to the club, some of them for well over a decade, and I hope they go on to have great success wherever they decide to go.”

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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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