Hawke's Bay's world champion New Zealand under-20 rugby team's first five-eighth Tiaan Falcon has scored a two-year Super Rugby deal with the Chiefs.
Falcon's signing along with that of his Baby Blacks captain, Waikato loose forward Luke Jacobson, was announced today. Jacobson has committed to the Chiefs until 2020.
"I'm really excited about this opportunity with the Chiefs, especially being able to develop my game at first five. I've heard really good things about the culture and the people at the Chiefs so I'm looking forward to getting there and really embracing this opportunity later in the year," Falcon, who intends to study at Waikato University, said.
A standout for the Baby Blacks at this year's under-20 World Cup in Georgia, Falcon, was born in Penrith, Australia while his father, former Maori All Black, Hurricanes and Magpies loosie Gordon Falcon was playing rugby league in the NRL for the Penrith Panthers. Falcon's grandfather Ray Falcon, is also a former Maori All Black and former Magpie.
A Lindisfarne College product, Falcon, made his Mitre 10 Cup debut for the Magpies as a 19-year-old last year and went on to make 10 appearances including seven starts at second five-eighth outside Maori All Black pivot Ihaia West. He is set to play a pivotal role for the Magpies again this season and it will be interesting if he gets many starts in the No 10 jersey ahead of West so he can develop his 9-10 partnership with Chiefs teammate and former All Black halfback Brad Weber.
"We are really rapt that Luke and Tiaan will be joining us for the next few years. These are two exceptional signings for the club which secures the future of the Chiefs. I'm pretty excited to work with both these young men who are quality players with huge potential," incoming Gallagher Chiefs head coach Colin Cooper said.
"It has always been a dream of mine to be a Chief," Jacobson said.
"I had a small taste of it this year, being a part of the Chiefs team to play in the Global Brisbane 10s tournament and also attending some trainings throughout the year and I enjoyed every minute of it. I'm really excited to be a part of the team."
Born in Te Awamutu and raised in Cambridge, Jacobson, attended Cambridge High School, earning selection for the New Zealand Schools team in 2014. In 2016 he captained the Waikato U19s in the Jock Hobbs Memorial National U19s Tournament, leading his team to Graham Mourie Cup victory and being awarded Player of the Tournament in the process.
Jacobson has experienced the Chiefs development pathways firsthand, having played for the Chiefs U20s team and the University of Waikato Taua Development team, with the latter captained by his older brother Mitch. This year he received the Chiefs Under 20s Player of the Year award.