Newcastle Falcons' Jimmy Gopperth can succeed at Leinster

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Gopperth deserves big move - Richards

Newcastle director of rugby Dean Richards has said Leinster-bound fly-half Jimmy Gopperth can fill the gap left by the departing Jonathan Sexton.

Gopperth, 29, signed a two-year deal with the reigning Heineken Cup holders for 2013, while Sexton is set to complete a move to Racing Metro.

"Jimmy's capable, he's a good player," Richards told BBC Look North.

"His character on and off the field will carry him through, and he's a leader as well. It'll be interesting."

The former Junior All Black is no stranger to following in the footsteps of a big-name exit.

He inherited Jonny Wilkinson's number 10 shirt when arriving at Kingston Park in 2009 from Super 15 side Auckland Blues, winning Premiership top points golden boot for two seasons running.

"It's fantastic news for him, the opportunity to play somewhere like Leinster who have won the Heineken Cup three times in the last four years, so it's great news for him and I wish him all the best," Richards added.

"There's unfinished business here before the end of the season and he's committed to that, but good news for him and poor news for us.

"The type of thing we're trying to create here is that in three or four years time it'll be exactly the same thing and people will be thinking the same thing about ourselves - saying to top players, 'it's great news it is you're going to Newcastle.

"That's what we're aspiring to do, and we will be in time."

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