Newcastle Falcons are have announced the signing of Argentina centre Matías Orlando. A proven international at the peak of his powers, the 28-year-old has been capped 44 times by his country, last year helping Jaguares to the Super Rugby final before representing Los Pumas in the Rugby World Cup.
Orlando will arrive in the first week of December on an 18-month deal, Newcastle building a squad for their return to the Premiership following an unbeaten 2019-20 campaign.
Director of rugby Dean Richards said: “Matías has consistently shone at both international and Super Rugby levels for a number of years now.
“He possesses a huge amount of quality both in terms of his skill set and work ethic, and it’s a massive boost for us to be able to attract a player of his standing in the world game.”
Born in Tucumán and playing his junior rugby with the Hiuirapuca club, Orlando played for Argentina’s Pampas XV in South Africa’s Vodacom Cup competition, making his full international debut in 2012 before rapidly establishing himself as a test regular.
Standing at 6 foot tall and weighing 95kg (14 stone 10), he has spent the past four seasons in Super Rugby with the Buenos-Aires-based Jaguares, scoring twice in last year’s semi-final victory over the Brumbies as they secured safe passage to their first ever final.
The midfield man has scored a total of 15 tries in his 59 Super Rugby appearances, adding to his five international tries, Richards saying: “He certainly knows his way to the line.
“He reads the game well, has a step on him and brings other people into play, so it’s a tremendously exciting signing. I’m sure our supporters will really appreciate and enjoy what Matías brings to the table.”
Newcastle’s return to the top flight was confirmed in April, with the club sitting 18 points clear at the top of the Championship when the season was prematurely ended by the Coronavirus pandemic.
The Falcons won all 22 of their matches last season across all competitions, and will compete in the Gallagher Premiership when the 2020-21 season gets underway towards the end of the year.