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

By Chris Jones
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

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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.


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.”


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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