Get to know the teenager who joins the Falcons academy from Sedbergh School

Newcastle fly-half Louie Johnson

Date of birth 13 June 2003 Born Carlisle Position Fly-half Club Newcastle Falcons Country England

When did you first play rugby? 

I first started playing a year up. My dad was coach of the U8s at Penrith, but I started when I was about six with the school year above and continued with that group all the way through to U18s, although I didn’t play for the club much after moving to Sedbergh for sixth form.

Did you play any other sports? 

I did athletics to a reasonably high standard.

I went to QEGS Penrith and went to the national finals, coming 12th in the UK over the 800m. But rugby mostly.

Have you always been a fly-half? 

When I first started I was at nine. I then went to ten, like every coach’s son!

What are your strengths?

I think my ability to beat defenders with pace and footwork. The amount of time I’ve spent in the game means I’m quick in what I do and I make good decisions on kick, pass and run.

And work-ons? 

Probably game management. In a professional environment defences are better, there’s more kicking, you’ve got to lead 15 players around the pitch to tactically win the game. I’m working on that.

When did you think rugby could be a career? 

I joined the Newcastle Falcons Academy at 13 and would see the coaches and first-team players. That clicked something in me to take it more seriously.

Who was your childhood hero? 

Everyone says it but Jonny Wilkinson. I only really remember the tail-end of his career, at Toulon, but I’ve read all his books and can relate to his commitment and drive. More recently, I’ve looked at someone like Beauden Barrett.

How excited are you to be joining Newcastle full-time? 

It’s been my dream since I was a young boy. I remember when I was about ten sitting on the stairs wishing for time to move forward so I would be 18 and could sign a professional contract.

What are your goals for the next year? 

To get into the England U20 squad. With the Falcons, I want to progress into the first team; there are a lot of young tens in the Premiership and if I play well hopefully I’ll get a couple of opportunities.

Are you going to study? 

I’ve decided not to go to uni, so I can fully focus on rugby. But I’m going to do a psychology degree with Open University because it’s more flexible.

RW Verdict: Johnson pays tribute to the influence of his dad, Gary, as he links up with the Falcons’ senior academy. And he has impressed for the club’s A team already, with a solo try against England U20. A name to look out for next season.

This article originally appeared in Rugby World’s July 2021 edition.

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