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South African centre the latest ex Jersey player to be snapped up by Newcastle

By Josh Raisey
Jordan Holgate of Jersey Reds runs with the ball during the Premiership Rugby Cup game between Bath Rugby and Jersey Reds at The Recreation Ground on September 16, 2023 in Bath, England. (Photo by Malcolm Couzens/Getty Images)

Newcastle Falcons have announced the signing of former Jersey Reds centre Jordan Holgate until the end of the season.

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The 26-year-old has been training with the Falcons since last season’s Championship winners went bust in September, while playing for Darlington Mowden Park in National One. But having impressed during this time, he has been brought on board at Kingston Park, joining his former Jersey teammates John Hawkins and James Elliott at the club.

Holgate is well travelled, having played for the Bulls and the Boland Cavaliers in his native South Africa, as well as Russia’s Slava Moscow, but now finds himself with a Newcastle side that are still searching for their first win this season in the Gallagher Premiership or the Challenge Cup.

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“It was a bittersweet couple of months with winning the Championship and then having the club drop out of the league, with all of the uncertainty it brought,” he said after signing for the Falcons.

“I’m excited to be at Newcastle Falcons and grateful to have the opportunity of playing at the top level. Hopefully I can bring some energy and go-forward to the midfield, and just offer something different.

“The fact that I’ve already been training here for a couple of months is obviously helpful in terms of knowing the boys and all the plays, and everyone here has been really good with me.

“I was coached by our attack coach Tom Williams at Jersey and had James Elliott and John Hawkins as team-mates, which has helped the transition here, but the boys have all been great and I’m looking forward to hopefully showing what I can bring to the team.”

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Head coach Alex Codling said: “It feels strange to be talking about Jordan as a new signing because he’s actually been with us for the past couple of months, but it’s great now having him available for selection.

“He did really well with Jersey before the sad events during the early part of the season, but out of something so bad at least this new opportunity has opened up for him at Newcastle.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing Jordan in a Falcons shirt. He is a player who has a lot to offer, and he brings something different to our midfield options in terms of his running game and the opportunities that opens up.”

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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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