Falcons swoop for centre
Scottish centre joins new faces arriving at Newcastle
Last Updated: 10/07/10 11:49am
Henderson: Newcastle move
Newcastle Falcons have added to their list of summer recruits by signing Scotland centre Andrew Henderson.
30-year-old Henderson has been brought in provisionally to cover for the absence of Tane Tu'ipulotu - who will miss the start of the new Aviva Premiership Rugby season following a hip operation.
Henderson will have the chance to showcase his talents as the Tongan centre misses out, and with 53 caps for Scotland behind him he will feel he can challenge for a regular start.
The hard-hitting centre spent the past season at French club Montauban, and has previously made 80 Magners League appearances for Glasgow prior to his French move, as well as a further 41 European outings for the Scottish side.
Making his Test debut in 2001, Henderson's eight-year international career has seen him rack up five Test tries, playing in two World Cups and appearing 22 times for his country in Six Nations action.
Last season saw Henderson start in four of Montauban's six European matches, as well as starting in ten of his 14 appearances in the French top flight.
Falcons head coach Alan Tait, himself a former international centre, said: "Andrew is just the type of player we have been after.
"He is here initially for around six months to cover for the injury to Tane Tu'ipulotu, but naturally we will review the situation after that and potentially look towards a longer term deal if things have gone well.
"The situation at Montauban has opened up what has been somewhat of an unexpected opportunity to get Andrew on board, and with Tane Tu'ipulotu out injured it's really a perfect solution for us."
Asked what Henderson will add to the team, Tait said: "He knows what it is all about at the top level, he's an incredibly consistent performer and just the sort of guy who will bring out the best in the players around him.
"I know him extremely well from our time together with Scotland, and he has one of the best offloading games I have ever seen.
"I know his strengths and his character first hand, and he can definitely add a lot to what we have here already. He will get us over the gain line, look to link up with the players around him and contribute a lot in defence, which are all important areas for us."
Henderson joins countryman Ally Hogg as one of the Falcons' 12 new recruits for the coming season, alongside Luke Eves (Bristol), Luke Fielden (Bedford), Redford Pennycook (Bristol), Tim Ryan (Toulon), Jeremy Manning (Munster), Glen Townson (Doncaster), James Hall (Coventry), Mark Wilson (Blaydon), Joe Graham (Tynedale) and James Fitzpatrick (Blaydon).