Former Sharks lock joins Newcastle Falcons
TRANSFER NEWS: Newcastle Falcons have bolstered their tight-five stocks with the signing of Worcester Warriors pair Richard Palframan and George Merrick, both on two-year deals.
Prop-forward Palframan, 27, has made 43 appearances during his two seasons at Worcester – the South-African-born tight-head playing his first professional rugby with Sharks Under-19s before joining London Irish and London Scottish.
Merrick, 28, also makes the switch to the North East – the 6 foot 7 lock-forward playing more than 50 times for Harlequins before leaving for French giants Clermont in 2019, going on to spend the current season with Worcester.
Newcastle Falcons director of rugby Dean Richards said: “Richard and George will both add strength and physicality to our tight-five from next season, and I look forward to their arrival.
“They know what the Premiership is about, and it just adds to that healthy competition for places which is so important in any squad environment.”
Palframan said: “From speaking to Dean I know the Falcons have big ambitions to keep the club moving in a positive direction, and I’m looking forward to getting started.
“I’ve been to Kingston Park a few times with other clubs, although I unfortunately couldn’t be involved last weekend due to a broken thumb, which is on the mend now and feeling good.”
Asked what fans can expect, he said: “As a tight-head the set-piece is a big part of my job, and I feel my scrummaging has really progressed this season and I’ve become a consistent, powerful scrummager.
“Handling, carrying and just making good decisions with the ball in hand is always something I’m looking to keep improving because being versatile around the field is something I pride myself on. As a tight forward there’s obviously also a big emphasis on being dominant in defence.
“I’m already used to synthetic pitches with having played a few years at Worcester, and I’m just looking forward to being part of things at the Falcons when I arrive next month.”
Lock-forward Merrick is similarly enthused about the prospect of life at Kingston Park Stadium, saying: “I’m excited about the move.
“Newcastle has always been a tough place to come and play as an opposition side, and it’ll be nice to be on the home end of that.
“It’s a decent set-up there, they’re going well at the moment and I’m going to try and get in early if I can ahead of the official start of pre-season in the middle of July.”
Giving supporters an idea of what he hopes to add to the squad, he said: “I want to bring my ball-carrying and offloading to the team, which are both aspects I pride myself on, and then just general physicality.
“Any team playing against Newcastle knows they’re in for a physical battle, and I just want to get stuck in with the rest of the boys on that side of things. It’s a really competitive squad with a lot of good players, but I want to really add to the group and help the club to push on.”