How appropriate it was for the Hawke's Bay Rugby Union to announce the re-signings of All Black Israel Dagg and world champion Baby Black Tiaan Falcon together yesterday.
The Lindisfarne College products already have a little bit in common and if Falcon, 20, continues to progress as he has in the past 12 months he could end up with a rugby CV with similar entries to his idol Dagg, 29, by 2020.
Dagg's Magpies' contract has been extended to the end of 2019 and Falcon's to the end of 2020.
"Tiaan is an exceptional talent with a highly promising future in the game as his outstanding recent form at the Under-20 World Cup has shown. His versatility in several backline positions from first five, second five and fullback makes him a hugely valuable addition to any squad he's in and he's a proud Magpie," Magpies coach, Craig Philpott said yesterday.
"I'm a passionate Hawke's Bay man and I've been proud to pull on the black and white jersey as my father [Gordon Falcon] and grandfather [Ray Falcon] did before me and I'm really excited about running out in front of the fans at McLean Park again," Falcon said.
Falcon, who made 10 appearances for the Magpies last year, including seven starts at second five-eighth, did enough with the Baby Blacks in Georgia to suggest he will be pushing Maori All Blacks and new Hurricane Ihaia West hard for the No 10 jersey during the Magpies Mitre 10 Cup campaign which begins with an August 19 home game against Southland.
"Whether it's 10 or 15 it doesn't worry me. I'll just keep training well and leave that decision up to the coaches. I'll play where ever they put me as long as I'm out on the field," Falcon said.
"I had a lot of good players inside and outside me with the under-20s. That gave me a lot of confidence and hopefully I can bring that form to the Magpies ... it's going to be a good season."
During his year 9 studies at Lindisfarne it was the 2011 World Cup year and Falcon remembered there was always plenty of talk about Dagg.
"We all looked up to him and he visited the school that year. Hopefully I will get to play a couple of games with him during the coming seasons."
Falcon's immediate priority is K9 Petfoods Clive's Maddison Trophy semifinal against Altherm Window Systems Napier Technical at Whitmore Park tomorrow.
"Clive have lost to Tech both times they've played them this season and I've heard Tech have been going really well. This is the first time Clive have reached the semifinals since 2008 ... it's important we play well for the players who have tried to reach the semis for the last eight years and missed out," he added.
Because of his international commitments Dagg, who was a New Zealand Under-19 team world champion in 2007, has played only 50 first class games for the Magpies since his 2006 debut when still a student at Lindisfarne. His last game was against Auckland at McLean Park in 2015.
"I have obviously been very lucky in my career so far to play for a number of really great teams. However, even though I haven't been able to play for them as much as I like, I have always been proud of my association with the Magpies and ultimately I am black and white at heart. It is where it all started and it seemed appropriate to sign with them now until the end of 2019 which is when my Crusaders contract also finishes," Dagg said yesterday.
"Israel's commitment to Hawke's Bay Rugby through the next three years will put the seal on an outstanding career that began as a precociously talented teenager in 2006. His loyalty to the Magpies has been outstanding throughout his illustrious career," HBRU CEO Mike Bishop said.