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Walder reveals why England rookie McGuigan was released mid-season

By Chris Jones
(Photo by Alex Davidson/The RFU Collection via Getty Images)

Head coach Dave Walder has revealed it was the Newcastle Falcons board that agreed to a mid-season release to allow try-scoring hooker George McGuigan to join Gloucester.

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The move caught many by surprise with former Falcons defence coach Nick Easter questioning the timing, although it then transpired Jack Singleton, the England and Gloucester hooker, has suffered a serious leg injury. That appears to have brought forward McGuigan’s move to Gloucester that was expected to happen in the summer.

It means Jamie Blamire, the England hooker, who has been pressed into service as an emergency back rower at Falcons during their injury crisis this season, can now expect a run in the No2 jersey at Kingston Park, including Saturday’s home European Challenge Cup clash with Cardiff.

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The loss of McGuigan will be keenly felt both on and off the pitch as his try-scoring exploits – seven this season- earned him a call-up to the England squad and helped Falcons register some eye-catching wins. McGuigan’s departure suggests Falcons cannot hold onto their higher-profile players who can earn more money at other Premiership clubs.

Walder said: “The board are in charge of all recruitment and retention and they felt that was the best decision for the club and it happened very quickly.

“There is nothing you can do and you just have to get on with it. It is never good to see your best players leave but my job as head coach is to coach the players I have got and get the best out of them. The board take those decisions and I am looking forward to giving it a shot against Cardiff. Jamie has signed a new contract and has been involved with England and we are excited to see him kick on.

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“We have always cut our cloth accordingly and what has gone with Worcester and Wasps has got everybody treading on eggshells a little bit and I cannot speak for other people’s perceptions (of Falcons). We get on and do our job with what we have got to help the club moving forward. My job is to deal with the rugby side and develop players from within. It’s a part of the job I enjoy.

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“George is a great player but Jamie has the potential to be a very, very good player and we are excited about what he can do and he will get more of a chance now. We also have a couple of young guys coming through who will be able to step up. We have to get on with it and a couple of them will get a chance on Saturday.”

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