Newcastle Falcons, who have yet to reach a European final, have turned to someone who has experience of one by signing Leicester Tigers centre Matías Moroni on a two-year deal.
The Argentina international, who has 57 caps, appeared for Leicester in their nail-biting 18-17 loss to Montpellier Hérault Rugby in the 2021 Challenge Cup decider, one of eight European appearances for the English champions in the last two seasons.
The 31-year-old becomes the Falcons’ sixth signing of the summer, following the previously-announced arrivals of Ospreys fly-half Josh Thomas, Bath Rugby fly-half Tian Schoeman, Doncaster Knights lock Josh Peters, Austin Gilgronis lock Sebastian de Chaves and Coventry scrum-half Josh Barton.
Newcastle head coach Dave Walder said: “Matías is a hugely well-respected player who will add a lot to our group, and it’s great that we have been able to sign a player of his standing in the game.
“He has been a central figure for a really strong Leicester side this season, going on to start in the Premiership final. He’s an outstanding character and he brings a level of experience and leadership which will be really valuable for us as we look to move forward this season.”
🤔 Anyone know the collective noun for multiple Matiases? pic.twitter.com/Jm1UU67Prs
— Newcastle Falcons (@FalconsRugby) June 22, 2022
The Buenos Aires native, who has also played for Jaguares in the Super Rugby final, is looking forward to joining international team-mates Matías Orlando and Mateo Carreras in the Falcons’ ranks.
“Matías and I have known each other since playing together for Argentina Under-20s and he is one of my best friends as well as being a top player,” said Moroni.
“We know we can play well together because we have done it for many years and I obviously know Mateo as well from our time together with the Pumas.
“It’s always useful having someone you trust who is already at the club, because they can tell you what it’s really like, and through the chats I have had with Matías, I know that Newcastle is a place where I will be happy on and off the field.
“I like how Newcastle want to play the game and I feel like I can fit in there. I might not be the best kicker or passer if you are looking at an individual skill, but I will do everything with intensity and look to play for the team.
“I have built up a good amount of experience over the years which will hopefully be useful for the rest of the team and I’m excited about this new opportunity with Newcastle.”