Aviva Premiership: Marcus Watson and Mike Delany to join Falcons
Newcastle continue 2015-16 recruitment with announcement of an England 7s star and experienced New Zealand utility-back
Newcastle Falcons have confirmed the capture of Marcus Watson and Mike Delany for the 2015-16 season.
Watson, who is the elder brother of Bath Rugby and England winger Anthony, has been a pivotal figure in the England 7s team on the HSBC Sevens World Series since signing a full-time contract with the Rugby Football Union in 2012.
He has shown a real desire to make an impression in 15s and it has impressed me that he has chosen to come to us and seize the opportunity when the Olympics in Rio are only 18 months away and it is that sort of attitude that has brought him to our attention.
Dean Richards on Watson
The 23-year-old has scored 49 tries across 26 events on the Sevens World Series and competed at the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow in 2013 and the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
While Watson’s Premiership experience is limited to two appearances from his days as a London Irish youth product, he has represented England at U16, U18 and U20 levels and he featured in the England side that finished fourth at the 2010 Junior World Championship alongside current England internationals Jonny May, Freddie Burns, Christian Wade, Joe Marler, Mako Vunipola, George Kruis and Falcons outside-half Rory Clegg.
“I’m very pleased to have secured Marcus’s services for next season,” said Richards.
“He is a very talented player who has shown and developed a vast array of skills in his time on the sevens circuit and I am looking forward to seeing him translate those to the full 15 a side game.”
“He has shown a real desire to make an impression in 15s and it has impressed me that he has chosen to come to us and seize the opportunity when the Olympics in Rio are only 18 months away and it is that sort of attitude that has brought him to our attention.”
Reflecting on his experience in sevens rugby, Watson praised the abbreviated form of the game for helping him to develop as a player.
“I’ve massively enjoyed my time with England Sevens,” he said.
“I came into the programme hoping to better myself as a player and I definitely feel like I have done that.
“It’s been an amazing experience, and something I¹ll always be proud of.
“I would encourage any young player to get into sevens; it’s a brilliant game and I’m thankful for all that it’s given me.
“I’m looking forward to heading up to Newcastle next season, it will be a new challenge for me, but one I’m excited about.”
The Falcons have also added the considerable experience of Rotorua-born utility-back Daleny (pictured above) from Clermont Auvergne on a three-year deal.
We have had a very good look at him and his style of play and ability to control a game will fit very well with what we are doing as a club.
Dean Richards on Delany
The versatile back, who can play at outside-half, centre or full-back, has played his rugby from New Zealand’s provincial league with Bay of Plenty to France’s Top 14 with Clermont via stints with Super Rugby franchises Highlanders and Chiefs, as well as Japan’s Panasonic Wild Knights.
The 32-year-old also won a sole All Blacks cap in 2009 against Italy and came off the bench in a non-cap match against the Barbarians, in which he scored his only points for New Zealand in a 25-18 defeat at Twickenham as South Africa star Bryan Habana helped himself to a hat-trick of tries.
“We’re really pleased to have recruited a quality player like Mike,” Richards said.
“We have had a very good look at him and his style of play and ability to control a game will fit very well with what we are doing as a club.
“He is pretty low mileage and in good shape and brings some valuable experience from the French Top 14, Super Rugby and of course being involved with the All Black set up on the 2009 autumn tour.”