Aviva Premiership: Italy forward Josh Furno to join Falcons
Aviva Premiership: Italy forward Josh Furno is set to join Newcastle Falcons from French club Biarritz
Italy lock Josh Furno will become the ninth addition to the Newcastle Falcons this summer as Dean Richards continues to rebuild after a troubled season.
The Australia-born 24-year-old makes the switch to Kingston Park after just one season with French club Biarritz, who were relegated from the Top14 earlier this month after finishing 21 points adrift of safety.
Having competed against the very best in the Top14 and the RaboDirect Pro12, I am now excited to be given the opportunity to challenge myself in the Aviva Premiership
Like Biarritz, the Falcons endured a torrid season with relegation threat hanging over them, eventually benefitting from Worcester Warriors having a worse campaign, but Furno can’t wait to get started with his new club.
“I am delighted to be joining Newcastle Falcons,” Furno said. “I am really looking forward to meeting all the boys and getting down to work.
“Having competed against the very best in the Top14 and the RaboDirect Pro12, I am now excited to be given the opportunity to challenge myself in the Aviva Premiership.
After coming through the domestic Italian system with Viadana and Aironi, Furno made his international debut as a replacement in Italy’s 13–6 win against Scotland in the 2012 Six Nations.
The versatile forward—who can also play in the back row—featured in all five of Italy’s Six Nations matches this year to reach 18 caps and scored his first try for Italy in this year’s dramatic Six Nations defeat to Scotland, also picking up the man of match award.
“I will be working hard to ensure that I play my part in what promises to be an exciting future for the club,” Furno added.
“I spoke with Carlo del Fava and Sinoti Sinoti [editor note – that’s not a mistake, his name is Sinoti To’omaga, but in weird Pacific Island fashion everyone just repeats his first name and it’s now accepted.
“Get the enunciation wrong and it sounds more like snotty snotty] and they only had good things to say about the Falcons and life in Newcastle. I then spoke with Dean and I was thoroughly impressed with his vision for the club going forward.”
Richards has already snapped up two of the Tuilagi brothers in Samoan internationals Alex and Andy, while USA prop Eric Fry will join from London Scottish and the Falcons director of rugby believes Furno’s experience will aid their campaign next season.
“Josh is a fantastic signing, who is a great all-rounder when it comes to the set-piece, ball carrying and his ability in defence,” said Richards.
“He has international experience from his time in the Italian set-up and has performed at the highest level in domestic competition, both of which will be vital for us in the Aviva Premiership.”