Three years after being told he would never play again, former Newcastle Falcons lock Andy Buist is back in rugby with Tynedale.
The 6ft 6in forward, who turns 29 on Sunday, made 59 appearances for the Falcons between 2003 and 2008, before a transfer to London Irish collapsed on medical grounds.
After suffering the injury at Saracens, three operations and an 18-month rehabilitation could not resurrect his professional career.
Buist subsequently took up a position with the RFU, developing schools rugby in the region.
But Tynedale chairman of rugby, John Shotton, revealed: “Andy has been training with us all summer, and has not missed a single session.
“He is in great condition, and his quality as a player is in no dispute given what he achieved for the Falcons.
“He seems really enthusiastic about playing for Tynedale this season, and a forward of his ability would be a great addition to any squad.”
Buist’s arrival is augmented by the return of prolific full-back Sep Visser from Edinburgh – the Dutch international who was the top try-scorer in National One during his last season with the Corbridge club.
Younger brother of Scotland wing Tim, his signing comes alongside that of flying Westoe wing Dom Rundle, Cumbrian prop Mark Irving from Ballymena and the return of fly-half Gavin Beasley from a stint in rugby league with Gateshead Thunder. Five dual-registered players from Newcastle Falcons will also feature this season under the same coaching team as last term – prop Scott Wilson, hooker George McGuigan and full-back Chris Harris all return, while flanker Harrison Collins and fly-half Craig Willis both join a squad who host National Two North side Hull this Saturday (3pm).
Gosforth RFC are on the look-out for a new forwards coach to join the club’s staff for the Durham and Northumberland Division Two season. Gosforth operate at RFU level seven, with interested parties urged to call Mike McCleery on 07736 936 868.
In sevens action, Northumberland have named the county squad which will represent them this season in tournaments including Manchester and Bury.
The county’s interest in the abbreviated code has been renewed thanks in no small part to the fledgling Alnwick Rum Northumberland 7s Series, won by Tynedale RFC. The first squad session and induction was held on Sunday at Druid Park, with player of the season Rob Parker (Tynedale) among the players included.
Former Northumberland cap Toby Flood, meanwhile, has been named as the new captain of Aviva Premiership champions Leicester Tigers. The ex-Newcastle Falcons and Morpeth fly-half takes over from Geordan Murphy.
Top sides from around the region and beyond will descend on Corbridge next Sunday for the Tynedale RFC School Rugby Festival.
This year’s is the largest-ever field in a tournament rapidly gaining a reputation as a major fixture in the schools’ calendar, organiser Richie Gledson stating: “Top-class school rugby is a superb spectacle, and you couldn’t wish for more scenic surroundings.”
Local entrants this year include RGS Newcastle, Durham School, Yarm School, Gateshead Academy and Newcastle School for Boys, with a Tynedale Schools XV and Morpeth Schools XV also featuring.
Former Newcastle Falcons director of rugby Steve Bates brings his Fettes College side down from Edinburgh, with other visiting sides including Old Swinford Hospital (West Midlands), Merchiston castle (Edinburgh), Stowe (Buckinghamshire), Ampleforth (Yorkshire) and Sedbergh (Cumbria).
The first game on Sunday September 1 gets under way at 10.30am, with adult tickets ï¿½5 and free entry for under-6s.
Newcastle Falcons’ RFU Championship trophy and Northumberland’s County Championship Shield will be on show.