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Page last updated at 09:41 GMT, Wednesday, 12 May 2010 10:41 UK

Newcastle Falcons recruit local player trio

Alan Tait
Tait left Scotland Rugby to join Falcons in 2008

Newcastle Falcons have signed the Blaydon duo of centre James Fitzpatrick and flanker Mark Wilson, as well as hooker Joe Graham from Tynedale.

The trio have impressed in the National League set-up and head coach Alan Tait is excited by their potential.

"They're all good, tough players, and they deserve their chance at the professional level," Tait said.

The club also confirmed that forwards coach Stuart Grimes will leave the club at the end of the month.

Grimes, whose contract is set to run out at the end of May, followed Tait from Scotland, but the Falcons coach said he is looking outside the club for support over the coming season.

The door is never shut if you have the talent and you want it badly enough

Falcons head coach Alan Tait

"As a relatively inexperienced head coach I feel that I need to look outside of the club to bolster my staff, to get some fresh input from outside and most importantly someone who has been there and done it as a coach over a number of years," Tait added.

But the Falcons coach said he was excited at the prospect of his recent signings.

"For some months during the season I kept being told about this kid at Blaydon who was causing mayhem in National League One, smashing people all over the place and putting in some massive hits and carries," Tait commented on Fitzpatrick's qualities.

"I went down to watch him, and I found it incredible that we'd missed a quality local lad like this coming through the age groups. He's a tough kid, no doubt about it, and he will add a real aggressive edge to the midfield.

Both Graham and Fitzpatrick have represented England Counties this season, while Wilson has captained England Students.

Wilson and Fitzpatrick were part of a Blaydon side comfortably nestled in the top half of National League One, while Graham grabbed a top-five finish with Tynedale in the 2009-10 season.

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the dude

"It was an easy call in offering Mark [Wilson] a contract, because he's captained our development team this season and been training full-time with the senior squad for most of the year," Tait continued.

"Like the other lads Joe [Graham] is at a great age, he's a hard Cumbrian and he will definitely mix things up in that front row."

Having bolstered the squad with the signing, Tait's impressions of young talent in the local leagues have been positive, and the former dual-code centre has hinted at further additions from the amateur ranks.

"As well as being good additions to the Falcons squad, I think these signings should also serve as a motivation to every single local player," Tait stated.

"What we're saying is that the door is never shut if you have the talent and you want it badly enough.

"And in a way it's a kick up the backside for us as a club in saying that the quality is out there in the local leagues if we're just willing to give them the chance to prove themselves."



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