Scrum-half Sam Stuart has become Newcastle Falcons’ eighth new signing for next season.
The 25-year-old is known to Falcons director of rugby Dean Richards from his time in Harlequins’ academy, the Cheltenham-born player having represented England at Under-16s, 18s and 20s levels.
Currently playing for Greene King IPA Championship side Richmond, the 5 foot 8 half-back has been a regular starter for the London club, playing in all 18 of their league fixtures this season.
During his time at Harlequins Stuart made three Premiership appearances, also featuring for the club in the Heineken Cup and LV= Cup.
Richards said: “Sam is a very skilful player who was a promising academy prospect when I was at Harlequins, and it is great now to have this chance to work with him up at Newcastle.
“He is an intelligent footballer with an eye for a break, he possesses a good kicking game and plays with the kind of high tempo we like to bring to our play.
“He has done very well during his time with Richmond and is already familiar with the North East from a spell playing at Darlington Mowden Park. We look forward to his arrival in the summer and to him forming part of what is already an exciting-looking squad for 2017-18.”
The Falcons have also confirmed that current scrum-half Sam Egerton will depart at the end of this season, the Oxford University graduate having decided to pursue his law career. Richards said: “Sam has been a great professional since joining us last year, he is a very talented player and we have really enjoyed working with him. He leaves with our best wishes and I am sure he will be successful in his chosen career.”
Stuart’s signing takes Newcastle’s total of summer acquisitions up to eight, following the previously-announced arrivals of Maxime Mermoz (Leicester Tigers), DTH van der Merwe (Scarlets), Josh Matavesi (Ospreys), Joel Matavesi (Redruth), Gary Graham (Jersey), Ryan Burrows (Yorkshire Carnegie) and Sami Mavinga (Lyon).
Season ticket memberships for the 2017-18 season are already available by calling 0871 226 6060. All adult season tickets come with up to two free under-11s season tickets, extended to under-15s for those children registered with RFU-affiliated clubs.