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Newcastle sign a Fijian-born British Army veteran from Belfast

By Kim Ekin
(Photo by Chris Lishman/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Newcastle Falcons have announced the signing of back Aloisio Vereimi Namuatabu Qorowale on a two-year deal. The 27-year-old – who can play wing or centre – joins from the British Army where he has been serving as a rifleman in 2nd Battalion The Rifles in Northern Ireland. The Fijian-born flyer has been playing for the Army 7s team and Belfast Harlequins, where he has been coached by former Ulster and Ireland scrum-half Neil Doak.

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“I played most of my rugby in the back row when I was younger, but when I moved over to the UK they asked me to play in the back line,” explained the new arrival, who is more commonly known by the shorter name of Vereimi Qorowale.

“I have played centre and wing, and hopefully I can bring a bit of Fijian flair to the team. I will be with the Falcons for pre-season next week and can’t wait to get going.”

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Standing at 6ft 1 (186cms) and weighing 16st 5lbs (105kgs), Qorowale hopes to follow in the footsteps of Semesa Rokoduguni and Siva Naulago in transitioning from the military into a flourishing professional rugby career. “It was my dream to become a professional rugby player, and seeing guys like Roko and Siva has been a real inspiration,” he said.

Newcastle head coach Dave Walder added: “Vereimi is a player who came to our attention initially through his exploits in the sevens game, but we feel he has a lot of potential and can give us something different. He has all the physical attributes, and by being in a fully-professional rugby environment we believe we will be able to get the best out of him.”

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Qorowale becomes the seventh senior Newcastle signing of the summer following the previously announced arrivals of Leicester’s Argentina centre Matias Moroni, Ospreys fly-half Josh Thomas, Bath fly-half Tian Schoeman, Coventry scrum-half Josh Barton, Doncaster lock Josh Peters and Austin Gilgronis lock Sebastian de Chaves.

Newcastle have also welcomed six homegrown players into their senior academy squad – wing Nathan Greenwood, centre Jeremy Civil, lock Luke Coulston, scrum-half Ben Douglas, prop Mike Rewcastle and hooker Charlie Smith.

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