Promotion-chasing Vannes are continuing to ramp up their English influence, announcing that Newcastle lock Darren Barry has joined them with immediate effect as a medical joker and then on a longer-term deal. The Pro D2 leaders signed ex-England international Nick Abendanon, the 2015 European player of the year, last summer and they added to their English contingent earlier this week by unveiling the signing of Henry Trinder, the long-serving Gloucester player.

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Now they announced the capture of the 31-year-old Barry, who joined Newcastle in 2019 from Worcester. He went on to make 20 first-team appearances and his immediate Falcons exit has resulted in Toby Salmon returning from his loan spell at Saracens.

Barry said: “I would like to thank everyone at Newcastle Falcons for welcoming me and my family to the club when I arrived 18 months ago. I really enjoyed my time at the club and have met some great people.

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“It is unfortunate that I was unable to add to the team’s efforts as much as I would like this season, but I wish everyone involved with the club all the best for the future. My fiancée and newborn son are both settled in Morpeth and will continue to call it home.

“With that in mind, I’m really looking forward to the challenge of playing rugby in a country I am very fond of. I hope to contribute as best as I can to the end-of-season challenge of gaining promotion from Pro D2 to the Top 14 with Vannes.

“Having been in France for a week already, I cannot wait to get involved and finish the season in style. Thank you to Newcastle for allowing me the opportunity to leave. Vannes, I look forward to playing for you and doing my best to help gain promotion.”

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Newcastle director of rugby Dean Richards added: “Darren has been given a great opportunity to go over to Vannes, initially as a medical joker, to which we have agreed to an early release. I would like to thank Darren for being a great professional during his time with the club, which included helping us to get promotion back into the Gallagher Premiership. He has been a very popular and hard-working member of the squad, and we wish him all the best for his time over in France.”

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