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Newcastle Falcons swoop and sign Gopperth

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Newcastle Falcons have announced the signing of Blues and Junior All Blacks fly half, Jimmy Gopperth, in a three-year deal.

The prolific 25-year-old boasts vast Super 14 experience with 363 points in 53 outings for the Blues and Hurricanes, as well as starring for New Zealand’s second-string national side, the Junior All Blacks, in winning the Pacific Nations Cup.

Having steered New Zealand to victory in the Under-21s World Cup final back in 2004, Gopperth starred at Air New Zealand Cup level for Wellington and North Harbour.

With the stand-off not counting as a foreign player, director of rugby, Steve Bates, said: “Jimmy is an outstanding talent who has excelled at Super Rugby level, and has the ability to really steer this team forward.

“We have been watching him closely for a number of months now, and have been impressed every time he has played.

“Jimmy is a fantastic goal kicker who links well, scores tries and leads the back line in a very expert manner with his tactical kicking.
“There is quality about everything he does, he is at just the right age and having captained North Harbour last season he has also developed the sort of leadership credentials which will be absolutely vital for us as a team.

“The reports from guys like Carl Hayman and Tane Tu’ipulotu, who has played a lot of rugby with Jimmy at the Hurricanes, Wellington and with the Junior All Blacks, have all been excellent, and we are excited about the prospect of having him on board.

“At this stage his contract with us starts in November after the Air New Zealand Cup, but we are pushing hard to secure an early release from that so he can join us for pre-season in July.”

Jimmy Gopperth

Position: Fly half
Born: 29/6/83
Height: 1.80m
Weight: 90kg
Previous clubs: Blues, Hurricanes
Honours: Junior All Blacks, NZ Under-21s

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