Newcastle Falcons

Newcastle Falcons are delighted to announce the signing of Kiwi back rower Richard Mayhew for the start of the 2011-12 campaign.

The 25-year-old former North Harbour player has joined the Falcons from Championship outfit Esher, and is a big boost ahead of Saturday’s crucial Aviva Premiership clash against Leeds Carnegie, at Kingston Park.

Speaking in the Hiding Place Bar at Kingston Park, Mayhew said: “This is an ambitious club with a lot of quality players so I’ve just got to contribute to that and go forward.

“Newcastle showed a lot of interest in me which really excited me and this is an opportunity to play in England and give it a good crack in the premiership.”

The jovial Kiwi originally moved to England to join the London Wasps but the deal fell through at the last minute.

Mayhew signs for the northeasterners less than 24 hours after fellow countryman Jamie Helleur agreed a deal with the Falcons. Add to that the signing’s of Gloucester scrum-half Jordi Pasqualin, Kiwi centre Ryan Shortland and rugby league convert Rikki Sheriffe, and things are really shaping up for Alan Tait’s men.

English qualified, the Auckland born forward hopes to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Shontayne Hape, Riki Flutey and Dylon Hartley into the England fold, saying: “I’ve got the British passport so anything is possible.

“My dad was born in England so that makes me a British citizen as well as a Kiwi. I’ll always see myself as a Kiwi as I was born and bred in New Zealand but I see this as a new start in my life. This is a fresh start and I want to make the most of it.

“I know a lot of the Kiwi boys like Jimmy Gopperth, Tane Tu’ipulotu, Andrew Van der Heijden and Jamie Helleur who recently signed so that will help me settle in.”

Mayhew who plays at either No.8 or flanker admits it was always his ambition to play in the top tier of English rugby.

He said: “My ultimate goal was to play in the premiership and my coach at Esher understands that, so I’m sure he will be very happy for me.

“I’m a hard working player and every time I play I work as hard as I possibly can. I’m pretty passionate about the way I play and look to do my job well.”

Head coach Alan Tait is delighted with the capture, adding: “Richard is a great signing for the club and adds a lot of go forward in the forward pack. He’s keen as mustard and cannot wait to play for the club.”