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'We'd signed him to come here': Brophy-Clews had new club lined up before quitting

By Chris Jones

Trending on RugbyPass

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Dean Richards has revealed Newcastle had signed Theo Brophy-Clews before the London Irish back was forced to quit the sport last month due to repeated concussions. The 24-year-old had agreed to join England and Harlequins full-back Mike Brown in moving to the North-East for next season.

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Richards is currently seeking to qualify the Falcons for next season’s Heineken Champions Cup when they visit his old club Harlequins this Saturday. Newcastle need to leap-frog London Irish and Bath to grab the eighth spot – the final qualification place for Europe’s top competition – and will be hoping Harlequins continue to rest players in preparation for their expected playoff semi-final trip to Premiership leaders Bristol.

Having been badly hit by Covid-19 restrictions and match cancellations, Richards believes making Europe would be a significant moment in the club’s history and was hoping to use the many talents of Brophy-Clews to increase the attacking threat already posed by wing Adam Radwan, who is set to be named in the England squad on Thursday for their summer series. 

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Richards said: “We all aspire to be in the Heineken Champions Cup and it would be an absolutely massive achievement. We will have a strong squad next season and sadly Theo Brophy-Clews has had to retire. We had signed him to come up here and he would have been a great addition to the club. Theo is an incredibly talented footballer and will be a loss to the game and so it could be that one of our youngsters stepping in now.”

Richards, who revealed there are more players than usual looking for contracts, added: “It is astounding how many are looking for contracts and it is worrying for the game that there is just one professional rugby league in England. 

“There is a need for a second division that is professional and there are a lot of players who won’t have jobs going forward. It’s almost a buyer’s market. Throughout the rugby world, there are fewer players being offered contracts and the only two stable markets are Japan and New Zealand.”

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The many disruptions that have faced Newcastle this season has made this a difficult challenge for Newcastle who have one of the smaller squads in the Premiership. Richards said: “We got off to a flying start but then had four games cancelled due to Covid. 

“It stopped the momentum at a time when the cold set in and not being able to hold meeting indoors meant every meeting was out in the cold and it was sometimes minus 2 which meant it was pretty difficult at times. 

“Then we didn’t win a league game for a while but we have finished a frustrating season with three home wins. We now need to leap-frog two teams and Quins will be pretty strong against us and will want a run out before the semi-final playoff.”

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'We'd signed him to come here': Brophy-Clews had new club lined up before quitting

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