Newcastle Falcons sign Esher back rower Richard Mayhew

Richard Mayhew
Mayhew is equally at home at number eight or on either flank

Newcastle have signed New Zealand-born back-row forward Richard Mayhew from Championship side Esher.

The 25-year-old former North Harbour player joined the Surrey club in February after attracting the interest of several top-flight English sides.

He had originally intended to join Wasps but the deal collapsed.

"Newcastle showed a lot of interest in me and this is an opportunity to give it a good crack in the Premiership," Mayhew said.

The Auckland-born player is English qualified through his father.

"My dad was born in England so that makes me a British citizen as well as a Kiwi," he said.

"I'll always see myself as a Kiwi as I was born and bred in New Zealand but I see this as a new start in my life.

He added: "I know a lot of the Kiwi boys like Jimmy Gopperth, Tane Tu'ipulotu, Andrew Van der Heijden and Jamie Helleur who recently signed so that will help me settle in."

Mayhew brings the total of new signings at Kingston Park for next season to five along with Helleur, Gloucester scrum-half Jordi Pasqualin, Otago centre Ryan Shortland and rugby league convert Rikki Sheriffe.

Falcons head coach Alan Tait said: "Richard is a great signing and adds a lot of go forward in the pack. He's keen as mustard and cannot wait to play for the club."

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