News in Brief
Double injury blow for Falcons
Newcastle's Tane Tu'ipolotu will miss the start of the Premiership season due to surgery on a hip injury.
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- Newcastle Falcons have suffered a double injury blow, with the news that Tongan pair Josh Afu and Tane Tu'ipulotu will both miss the start of the new Premiership season.
Back rower Afu suffered a broken leg and ankle ligament damage on international duty with Tonga last week, whilst centre Tu'ipulotu has undergone an operation on a hip injury. Fly-half Tom Catterick was already due to miss the start of the campaign in September after the shoulder operation which ruled him out of the Under-20s World Cup, whilst flanker Mark Wilson will be touch-and-go after picking up a groin injury.
Head coach Alan Tait said, "It's a bitter blow so early into our pre-season, especially to lose guys like Josh and Tane who were both in serious contention for starting places.
"Josh has suffered a fractured fibula and damage to his ankle ligaments while away with Tonga for the Pacific Nations Cup, and he will miss at least the first few months of the season. We have some good depth in a number of positions, and that will be tested early on in the season due to the sheer bad luck we have encountered so far in terms of injuries.
"But that's sport, we all know it happens and we'll just get on with it. We have quality guys in the squad who can come in and fight for those shirts, and this bad luck in terms of injuries hasn't dented our enthusiasm for the new season in the slightest."
- Sale Sharks have continued their recruitment plans for the new season with the signing of talented utility back Matty James.
The 23-year-old joins the Premiership side following stints with Manawatu and Tasman in New Zealand and Neath in Wales. "He's a lively threat from midfield or fullback, who runs hard and offloads well," commented Sharks head coach Mike Brewer.