News in Brief
Falcons swoop to sign Hogg
Ally Hogg has signed for Newcastle
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- Newcastle Falcons have announced the signing of Scotland back-rower Ally Hogg from Magners League side Edinburgh.
Hogg, 27, has been capped 48 times by Scotland and his signing has delighted new head coach Alan Tait. The Falcons ended their Guinness Premiership season on a low last weekend with defeat to Wasps in Tait's first game in charge since succeeding Steve Bates.
"Ally is a vastly experienced top international player who ticks all the boxes for us," he said. "He is a natural leader, a fantastic footballer and a real dynamic presence with the ability to play at either No.8 or on the flank. He knows his way to the try line, has excellent skills and at 27 is just the right sort of age to become a real key figure in this team as we look to drive the club forward going into the new season.
"He has competed on the top international stage for a number of years now, I know his game and his character inside out from our time together with Scotland and I firmly believe he will be a pivotal signing for us."
The Falcons have also signed Bedford fullback Luke Fielden, 25, on a one-year deal.
- The Bulls will head into their final round Super 14 game and semi-final without Gerhard van den Heever after the young winger was banned for two weeks for a dangerous tackle on the Crusaders' Tim Bateman. Van den Heever was shown a yellow card by referee Marius Jonker for the offence, which came seven minutes before the end of a thrilling 40-35 win for the Bulls.
- Bath have confirmed the departure of popular wing Joe Maddock at the end of the season. The Kiwi flyer is likely to join an Italian club, with Julian Salvi heading to the Brumbies, Nicky Little to Bristol and Rob Hawkins to Leicester. Also leaving the club are Mike Baxter, Daniel Browne, Rhys Crane, Ryan Davis, Matt Spelman and Michael Stephenson.
- Chiefs winger Dwayne Sweeney's Super 14 season is over after he was handed a three-week ban for a dangerous tackle. Citing commissioner Steve Hinds cited Sweeney for a dump tackle on Waratahs winger Drew Mitchell in the 19th minute of the Chiefs' 49-19 loss in Hamilton on Saturday.
- Following the end of the Guinness Premiership season, Harlequins have announced that Aston Croall, Waisea Luvenyali, Tosh Masson, Neil McMillan, Nils Mordt and Steve So'oialo will be leaving the club.