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South African powerhouse swaps URC for Premiership

TRANSFER NEWS: Newcastle Falcons have added experience to their forward pack with the signing of Edinburgh prop Luan de Bruin.

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The 31-year-old prop has signed a two-year deal with the Premiership club.

Beginning his professional career in his native South Africa, whom he represented at Under-20 level, the Pretoria-born scrummager spent five seasons with the Cheetahs, playing in Super Rugby and the Pro 14.

De Bruin moved to Leicester Tigers in 2020, playing 17 games in his single season with the East Midlands outfit.

From there he earned a move to the Scottish capital, spending the past three years with Edinburgh, during which time he worked with Newcastle Falcons’ consultant Director of Rugby, Steve Diamond.

“I had Luan up at Edinburgh and he really impressed me during that time,” said Diamond.

“We’re signing him predominantly as a loosehead, although he does have the ability to play on the other side.

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“He comes with the right pedigree after playing at Leicester, Edinburgh and the Cheetahs, and he does the basics well. He’s got plenty of experience and he’s a great fit for Micky Ward’s forward pack.

“He’s a strong scrummager, defends well, he’s big and mobile and gets over the gain line with his carrying. I’m looking forward to working with him again and seeing the impact he can make for us.”

De Bruin said: “I’m very excited to be returning to the Premiership, and to be working with Steve Diamond again.

“He’s a hard man but he’s very fair, and that’s all you can ask for.

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“I really enjoyed my time playing in the Premiership with Leicester Tigers a few years back, and I was always keen to do it again if the opportunity came up.

“I’ve played against Newcastle a couple of times, and it’s always a tough battle. You know you’re going to get a hard, physical game, and you better be ready playing against any Falcons side.

“I know that’s the type of mentality I will find when I link up with Newcastle, especially with Dimes in charge. He’ll work us hard but we’ll have fun doing it, and he will put us on the path towards positive results.”

Asked to give supporters an idea of what they can expect from their new signing, De Bruin said: “I want to contribute in any way I can, and I love the physical side of the game.

“The dark arts of scrummaging, mauling and breakdown are where I can have the biggest impact, and I’ll just try to be a workhorse for the team. I pride myself on physicality and work ethic, so that’s what I will look to bring when I arrive.

“Dimes is signing me mainly as a loose-head, which I’m fine with, but if the need arises I can always switch over and play tight-head. I was a tight-head for a lot of my career earlier on, but when I moved to Leicester they saw me as a loose-head. I was a little bit wary at first but I had a good season there where I learned a lot, and loose-head is somewhere I enjoy playing now.”

Having already worked with a handful of the Falcons’ squad for next season, he added: “I know Cammy Hutchison and Murray McCallum from our time together at Edinburgh, and when I made my debut for the Cheetahs many years ago Philip van der Walt was also playing for them.

“It’s obviously good to have a few familiar faces there on day one, but I’m just looking forward to meeting up with all the boys and getting to know them during our pre-season.”

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