Newcastle Rugby Union have signed young forward Darren Fearn. The 21-year-old Northumbria University student joins the club on a one-year deal, having previously represented the Falcons development team.

The 6ft 3in Yorkshireman weighs in at an imposing 20 and a half stone.

Newcastle Rugby Union head coach Alan Tait said: “Darren has got loads of potential and is desperate to prove himself. It’s important we give these guys a chance.”

Fearn will combine full-time training at the Falcons with the final year of his degree in sports development with coaching.

Tait continued: “Darren is in a similar situation to where Grant Shiells and Mark Wilson were this time last year, he’s really knocking on the door. Our academy manager Richard Arnold coached him last year at Northumbria University, and he rates him very highly.

“Our front row coach Micky Ward has also had a good look at him during pre-season, and from my own point of view Darren has the right sort of attitude and character to make a real go of it.”