Newcastle Falcons new boy Calum Green has a familiar face to turn to after moving in with former Leicester team-mate Kieran Brookes.
The England tight-head has turned landlord to his ex-Tigers comrade as Green settles into life on Tyneside, the 23-year-old lock-forward hoping to add the required ballast as Newcastle push on from their perch as Premiership strugglers.
Accompanied by Brookes for his maiden media outing in the North East, the Norfolk native said: “I obviously know Kieran from our time together at Leicester and, when I asked him whereabouts in Newcastle I should be living, he very kindly said I could move in with him.”
Playing his formative years at North Walsham before spending five seasons at Leicester, the 6ft 5in forward was also part of the Tigers side which beat world champions South Africa during their 2009 tour.
Making 21 senior appearances for the Welford Road outfit before spending two years with Championship semi-finalists Leeds Carnegie, he said: “I joined Leicester when I was 13 or 14, and it was a great environment in which to learn my rugby.
“Training with all their international players was brilliant in terms of learning what it takes at the top level, but as I approached 21 and 22 I knew I needed to be playing more regular senior rugby.
“Leeds provided that and I had a really good two seasons there, but Newcastle is a new challenge now and one I am looking forward to.”
Refuelling from a punishing morning gym session, he said: “My first impressions of the club are pretty good, and all the boys have been welcoming.
“We have snuck a few skills sessions in between the daily beastings, but it has been mostly weights and running. It is just something you have got to do at this time of the year.”
Asked what he will offer and where he sees the Falcons in the short to medium term, Green added: “The Falcons have a good core of English players, which is exciting, and I have come up here to try and play as much as possible.
“I prefer more of the tight stuff, like mauling and scrummaging, and hopefully I can add that physical dimension to the side.
“Last season was all about maintaining Premiership status, and hopefully this year we can push on.
“There is a lot of excitement around the place about the likes of the Tuilagi brothers coming here, and if we keep hold of the likes of Kieran then we can build something. In a few years’ time we can be talking about that top end of the table.”
Meanwhile, South Shields’ Katy McLean will captain England as they head to Paris for the Women’s World Cup, which kicks off on August 1.
The Darlington Mowden Park fly-half has Newcastle’s Sarah Hunter as vice-captain, Mowden team-mate Tamara Taylor also included in head coach Gary Street’s pack as they prepare for group games against Samoa, Spain and Canada. Ex-Newcastle Falcons academy forward Mike Ellery has been named in the England sevens squad for the Commonwealth Games, the national side warming up for the tournament by playing in the ‘Sevens and the City’ event in London tomorrow.
North East representation comes via the Suzuki Wailers, who include Tynedale’s Ben Frankland and Dan Rundle in a group which sees them drawn against the national teams of Wales, Scotland and Germany.