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Falcons sign Auckland centre

Falcons sign Auckland centre

Newcastle Falcons have bolstered their back division with the signing of 27-year-old centre Jamie Helleur, from Auckland Rugby for the 2011-12 season.

The Auckland born midfielder, who has represented Samoa on three occasions, is the latest acquisition to Kingston Park, following the signings of Gloucester scrum-half Jordi Pasqualin, rugby league convert Rikki Sheriffe and Ryan Shortland from New Zealand outfit Otago.

Helleur has 23 provincial caps to his name and has crossed the whitewash four times, proving he has an eye for the try line.

In 2010 he made his Samoan debut during the Pacific Nations Cup and was considered one of Samoa's best centres for his line breaking abilities and his brave defence.

The aggressive defender made his debut for Auckland in 2005 and came through the Auckland academy system after making his mark at an early age.

Speaking from his home in Auckland, the 27-year-old, former Blues centre cannot wait to meet up with his new teammates in the north-east.

“I have been looking forward to this move for a long time,” Helleur told media manager Stewart McCullough.

“I am really happy that this opportunity has come up and hopefully I can slot into the side. The fact that I have a couple of friends at Newcastle is great for me,” he said.

Auckland born, Helleur has represented Samoa on three occasions and is a good friends with Filipo Levi, Tane Tu’ipulotu, Jimmy Gopperth and giant lock Andrew Van der Heijden. Van der Heijden played with Helleur during his high scool days in Auckland.

“Van ders [Andrew Van der Heijden] was captain of our team and he was a great leader. I have already spoken to Van ders about my move and it will be really nice to meet up with him again when I come across to Newcastle,” said Helleur.

During his days with Auckland, Helleur was coached by New Zealand and Newcastle Falcons rugby legend Pat Lam with Helleur adding: “It was a great experience and I learnt so much from him.”

Helleur will join up with his new teammates on 1 July for pre-season training and is the latest acquisition to Kingston Park following the signings of Jordi Pasqualin, Rikki Sheriffe and Ryan Shortland.

An aggressive defender, Helleur will add to the Samoan contingent in the Aviva Premiership along with the likes of Gloucester’s Eliota-Sapolu.

“I’ve played with Eliota in the Samoan team and it will be interesting when we come up against each other,” he said.

While not ruling himself out of selection for the World Cup later this year, Helleur insists he wants to cement his position at Newcastle Falcons.

He said: “I just want to concentrate on playing well for the Falcons at the moment. That is my focus and I cannot wait to play for the club.

“I want repay the faith shown in me and play well for Newcastle.”

And Helleur says he will be watching Saturday’s crucial home Aviva Premiership match against Leeds closely, saying: “Obviously it’s a really big game for the club and I wish the boys all the best.”
 

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