Newcastle Falcons sign prop twins Callum and Connor Hancock

Newcastle Falcons sign prop twins Callum and Connor Hancock

Newcastle Falcons have signed England Students props Callum and Connor Hancock, with the identical twins joining the senior academy squad on one-year deals.


Tight-head Callum and loose-head Connor are well known to the Falcons after spending much of last summer’s pre-season training with the squad, with the pair also drafted into training at points during the current campaign.


Finishing their studies at Leeds Beckett University this summer, whom they have represented in BUCS Super Rugby, the twins will join Falcons hooker Ollie Fletcher and scrum-half Max Pepper in playing for England Students this Saturday when they face France Universities in Coventry.


The 23-year-old brothers stand at 182cm (6 foot), weighing 120kg (18 stone 13), and are delighted by the opportunity to move into the professional ranks.


Callum, who is completing a Masters in marketing, said: “We’re both really excited to be signing for Newcastle Falcons.


“It’s been a longer-than-expected route into professional rugby but Newcastle have been great with us throughout, and it’s fantastic that they’re open to bringing in players from all avenues.


“It’s easy to feel as if you’ve missed the boat when you’re not involved full-time with academies, but Newcastle cast the net far and wide. We’re just excited to get cracking now and to be a proper part of things.”


The twins were raised in Sheffield and played their junior rugby for Dinnington RFC before moving to Bishop Burton College, being involved with Yorkshire’s academy prior to moving on to university at Leeds Beckett.


Connor, who is finishing his studies in sports coaching, said: “We were invited in for pre-season with the Falcons last summer, and really enjoyed it.


“It was hard work as you’d expect but we got a huge amount from it, and it massively benefited our game when we went back to Leeds Beckett and played in BUCS Super Rugby.


“I feel like we brought a new level of professionalism to our uni rugby with all the things we’d learnt at Newcastle, and we got a record 102 scrum penalties awarded in our favour over the season. Having both of us called up by England Students was a huge honour on the back of that, and then getting signed up by the Falcons is just incredible on top of everything else.”


Newcastle Falcons’ head of academy James Ponton said: “It’s great having Callum and Connor on board.


“They did most of pre-season with us last summer, they got very involved from a team point of view and the lads here really took to them. They’re a couple of characters, they’re very hard working and they got stuck into everything we did. We always knew they had another year at university but we were keen to get them back in at the end of that, and let’s see where we can take them.


“They’re both big lads. They’ve got a lot of work ahead of them to make that step up into being a fully professional player, but they’ve got the attitude and the ability to do it. They’re part of a good propping group with some of the slightly younger lads we have in the senior academy as well, and they will all drive each other on.”


Stressing the club’s open-minded approach to player recruitment, Ponton added: “There are loads of different routes into professional rugby, and we as a club will never close the door on people.


“Some guys develop later on and won’t be in that initial senior academy squad at 18, and the front-row guys in particular can take their time to come through. It just takes a bit of time to mature, to grow into a man’s body and get that strength, and the twins are a good example of that.”


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