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Newcastle sign Mark Wilson's replacement

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Newcastle sign Mark Wilson's replacement - 6'4, 110kg Philip Van der Walt

Newcastle Falcons have confirmed the signing of back-rower Philip van der Walt on a three-year deal from South African Super Rugby side, the Sharks.

The 6 foot 4 forward turned 30 last weekend, and will arrive on Tyneside in the coming weeks upon receipt of his visa.

Falcons director of rugby Dean Richards said: “Philip’s signing is great news for the club because he brings us experience, leadership and a huge amount of ability in a key area of the team.

“He is renowned as a ball player at No 8 but relishes the physical aspects of the game, and he will also give us another top line-out option as well as being able to play in the second row.”

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Van der Walt played his first provincial rugby as a teenager with South Africa’s Eastern Province, going on to enjoy a successful six-season spell with Free State Cheetahs, also playing Super Rugby for the Cheetahs.

Spending a year in France with Biarritz, Van der Walt joined Natal Sharks the following season, captaining the side and going on to play Super Rugby for the Sharks.

Playing for Japanese club Canon Eagles prior to rejoining the Sharks for this year’s Super Rugby campaign, Van der Walt spoke of his enthusiasm at becoming a Newcastle Falcons player.

He said: “I am very excited to join the Falcons.

“I am looking forward to meeting the team, learning from their experience and contributing as best as I can.

“It is a whole new experience for my family and I. We have never been to the UK and we are looking forward to experiencing Newcastle, its people and the change in environment.”

Van der Walt forms part of a summer influx which also includes USA lock Greg Peterson (Bordeaux-Begles), Tonga wing Cooper Vuna (Bath), lock Darren Barry (Worcester), prop Mark Tampin (Ealing), lock Sebastian de Chaves (London Irish), lock Toby Salmon (Exeter) and centre Gareth Owen (Leicester).

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Newcastle sign Mark Wilson's replacement - 6'4, 110kg Philip Van der Walt