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Leinster bring in Jimmy Gopperth
ESPN Staff
March 4, 2013
Newcastle's Jimmy Gopperth issues some instruction, Newcastle Falcons v Northampton Saints, Aviva Premiership, Kingston Park, Newcastle, England, April 15, 2011
Jimmy Gopperth will play for Leinster next season © Getty Images
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Leinster have signed Newcastle Falcons fly-half Jimmy Gopperth ahead of next season.

The No.10 joined the Falcons in 2009 from the Auckland Blues and picked up back-to-back Aviva Premiership Golden Boot awards for his impressive hauls from the tee. He had options to move from the Falcons at the end of last season following their relegation to the RFU Championship but he opted to stay at Kingston Park.

But following Ireland fly-half Jonathan Sexton's decision to move to Racing Metro for the 2013-14 season, Leinster have acted quickly to bring in the New Zealander. He will join the club in the summer and will vie with Ian Madigan for the starting fly-half berth. And he is relishing the chance to play Heineken Cup rugby.

"Last year I could have left the Falcons after relegation, but in my heart I felt that I had to stay and help the club immediately return back to the Premiership," Gopperth said. "When the opportunity arose to move to the Heineken Cup champions, I felt it was the right time in my career to embark on a new challenge."

Gopperth has performed well for the Falcons this season both at No.10 and at fullback and Falcons coach Dean Richards praised the Kiwi's performances. "Jimmy has been a fantastic servant for the club, and I would like to wish him all the very best for the future," Richards said. "In the meantime Jimmy is fully focussed on helping Newcastle achieve its goal of gaining promotion back to the Premiership.

"By moving to Leinster Jimmy will get the opportunity to play Heineken Cup rugby next season. Leinster is a club with rich history and tradition, and I am pleased for Jimmy that he will get the chance to test himself at the very highest level."

Gopperth added: "Newcastle Falcons has huge potential under ambitious owner Semore Kurdi and director of rugby Dean Richards, and I would love to see the club realise its goal of playing Heineken Cup rugby. It has been an exciting season under Dean so far, and there is still a job to be done as we aim to bounce back to the Premiership. That is my focus at the moment, and all my energy is going into helping the Falcons achieve this goal."

Leinster head coach Joe Schmidt commented: "We are delighted that Jimmy has put pen to paper on a deal and we believe that he will be an excellent foil for Ian Madigan, bringing added depth and experience to the out-half position when he joins this summer."

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