Third-generation Magpie Tiaan Falcon is returning home to play for Hawke's Bay in the 2021 Bunnings NPC.
The 23-year-old son of Magpies legend Gordon and grandson of ex-Magpies and NZ Māori Ray has been playing with Japanese club side Toyota Verbiltz in the Japanese Top League and has negotiated a release to play for the Magpies in their upcoming NPC campaign before returning to play for Toyota again in the 2022 competition.
Falcon, the former Magpies, NZ Under-20 and Chiefs first five who played the last of his 28 games for Hawke's Bay in the gut-wrenching 2019 final loss to Bay of Plenty in Rotorua, said he was "really excited" about coming home to join the Magpies.
"As long as I can remember all I wanted to do was play for the Magpies so to be able to have the opportunity to return to the team this year is massive for my family and myself," Falcon said.
"I look forward to getting back to Hawke's Bay, playing for Clive and working hard to build on the success the team had last year.''
While he has made himself available for the Magpies' Ranfurly Shield defence against North Otago at the end of the month, he still needs to complete his 14 days of managed isolation.
Head coach Mark Ozich said Falcon had shown versatility with "significant performances" in the first five, midfield and fullback positions, and Ozich is excited to see the "accomplished goalkicker" returning to the Bay.
"It's great to have Tiaan back in the black-and-white hoops as he will add valuable experience despite being so young and will certainly increase the competition within the squad for positions," Ozich said.
Hawke's Bay Rugby Union CEO, Jay Campbell, said Falcon was "an outstanding young man both on and off the field" who had already won a junior world cup, played Super rugby and two seasons in Japan and yet is still only 23.
"There is no doubt Tiaan is an exceptional talent and the Hawke's Bay public had only seen glimpses of that before he left, so I am excited to see him return to push for a place in the 2021 starting side."
Falcon is expected to make himself available for his club Clive in the remaining rounds of the Maddison Trophy once his stint in managed isolation comes to an end.
The Magpies' first game is a Ranfurly Shield defence against North Otago on June 30 at McLean Park, with their first Bunnings NPC game on Saturday, August 6, being an away match against Taranaki at Pukekura Park, New Plymouth.