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Newcastle Falcons to add touch of class in star Cato

NEWCASTLE Falcons have added Premiership class and proven finishing power for the their promotion push after completing the signing of Northampton Saints wing Noah Cato.

Noah Cato, Newcastle Falcons new signing

NEWCASTLE Falcons have added Premiership class and proven finishing power for the their promotion push after completing the signing of Northampton Saints wing Noah Cato.

The 24-year-old has joined the Championship leaders with immediate effect until the end of the current season, Saturday’s 50-3 thrashing of Cornish Pirates securing the Falcons’ place in the play-off semi-finals with six games left to go.

Cato has scored 11 Premiership tries during his six seasons in the top flight, making 34 starts and a further 14 replacement appearances.

Originally breaking through with Saracens, the Brighton-born speedster made 13 league appearances en-route to their one-and-only Premiership title triumph in 2011, including the semi-final victory over Gloucester.

He has also touched down a further four tries in 16 European appearances, and was equally prolific during an international career which has seen him rising to England Saxons level.

First capped by England Under-19s in 2008, the dreadlocked flyer scored six tries in five outings the following year as the under-20s claimed a memorable Grand Slam.

He then averaged a try per match at the Under-20s World Championship later that year, earning selection for the England squad during their IRB World Sevens Series campaign.

Helping England Saxons to the final of the Churchill Cup, his move to Northampton in the summer of 2011 produced three tries in nine outings.

Finding opportunities limited in his second season as a Saint, his

arrival at Kingston Park comes with fellow wide men Luke Fielden and Alex Tait both side-lined by knee injuries.

Ryan Shortland and Andy Higgins started on the wings during Saturday’s eight-try demolition of the Pirates. The former, in particular, caught the eye with his most involved performance of the season, creating tries for James Hudson and Jimmy Gopperth in a game which left his side 20 points clear at the top of the table and still unbeaten in all competitions.

The club’s longer-term wing stocks already include England Under-18s international Zach Kibirige, the Middlesbrough-born teenager who has averaged a try a game for Newcastle despite still being a pupil at Yarm School.

Michael Tait’s burgeoning outside centre credentials could also be transferred to the wing should the need arise, while full-back Tom Catterick has been among the number of players to have patrolled the tram-lines this year.

The Falcons’ next assignment comes at Rotherham on Saturday, but action elsewhere last weekend has finally decided their opponents in the quarter-finals of the British and Irish Cup. Nottingham’s victory at Llandovery on Sunday means the East Midlands side will travel to the North East in the last eight, the club confirming the game will be staged on the evening of Friday April 5 at Kingston Park.

Meanwhile, two other North East teams engaged in quarter-final action are Durham University and Northumbria University as they take part in the last eight of the British University and College Sports Cup.

Last year’s beaten finalists Durham - league champions for a third season in a row – are at home to Bath University tomorrow at Durham City RFC, kick-off 6.30pm.

Northumbria are away to Cardiff Metropolitan, formerly known as UWIC, the power-house of Welsh student rugby and regular representatives in the business end of a competition whose final will once again be played at Twickenham.

Si Culley, director of rugby at Northumbria, said: “We are unbeaten in our last four games since Christmas, so we are going into the game in a decent run of form. We finished fourth in our league, which was a creditable enough position, although the cancellation of two of our away games was frustrating and did not allow us to improve on that.”

 

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