Haymania sweeps through Newcastle

Carl Hayman swapped the black shirt of New Zealand for the black shirt of Newcastle this week, insisting he is looking forward to life as a Falcon.

The Kiwi tight head donned his Newcastle kit at a packed Kingston Park press conference on Wednesday, revealing the decision-making process which led to his arrival in north-east England.

“I have a few mates back home who had spent some time here, like Craig Newby from Otago who played at Newcastle a couple of years back, and he had great things to say about the club and the people,” said Hayman, who could make his Falcons debut as early as this Saturday at London Wasps.

“Joe McDonnell is a good pal of mine so I was able to get the inside track, if you like, and also Brent Wilson who is at the club right now is a former flat mate of mine from when we were playing club rugby in Otago.”

Having snubbed a host of top French clubs and other Guinness Premiership teams to join the Falcons, he said: “There was the option of France, but my French isn’t too flash and I just couldn’t see myself there, so I thought I’d have a crack at picking up the Geordie accent instead!

“There were other clubs to consider, but in the end Newcastle just seemed like the ideal fit.

“The town is great, the people are really friendly and the rugby side of things is in good shape here. I’m not a big city slicker, so London was never an option I’d consider, and now that I’m actually in Newcastle as a Falcons player I know I’ve made the right choice.

“It’s a very progressive club that likes to play an open game, and that will suit me because it’s what I’ve been used to in New Zealand.”

Insisting that the rugby is at the forefront of his mind, he added: “Every player’s aim is to win things, and I’m no different.

“I wouldn’t have come here if I didn’t believe it was achievable, and everything I’ve seen since I arrived at the Falcons has backed up my feeling that this is a team which can win things.

“I only turned 28 a couple of weeks ago, so I have plenty of good rugby left in me. People sometimes accuse the overseas guys of coming over here for the pension, but anyone that knows me will tell you that’s not how I operate. I believe the best years of my career are yet to come, and I’ve signed here with that in mind.

Having left his homeland in the wake of the All Blacks’ World Cup disappointment, Hayman explained: “I just needed a bit of a change.

“I’d been playing professionally in New Zealand for a decade. I’d set my sights on the World Cup this year, which unfortunately didn’t go according to plan, but I felt that the time was right for me to explore something different both in terms of rugby and in life generally.

“It’s sad in a sense to leave New Zealand rugby, but I’m proud of what I’ve given to the game there and I don’t have any regrets. I’m now looking forward to the next three seasons with Newcastle and working just as hard to help the Falcons achieve their ambitions.”

Asked if a return home for the 2011 Rugby World Cup was in his thoughts, he replied: “It all depends really – I don’t want to get too far down the track and talk about something which isn’t even an issue for the next three seasons.

“I’m not looking in to my crystal ball, so we’ll just see where we are when the contract is up in 2010.. If it goes well I might decide to stay on in Newcastle, but I’m not thinking that far ahead to be honest.”

Having slotted straight in to training this week, Hayman revealed he has already been the subject of a dressing room ribbing from his new Falcons comrades, stating: “The boys have actually been getting in to me straightaway, saying that I’ve been on the sun bed because I’ve turned up in Newcastle during the Englsh winter with a bit of a tan!

“There’s a very good explanation I promise – I’ve been working outdoors on the farm for the last few weeks in the sun, helping my good friend Andr

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