Player Profile - Richard Arnold
By Falcon1 (28/04/03)
April 29 2003
|| Back row
|Date of Birth
|Place of Birth
|| Eltam, New Zealand
|| 6' 4''
|| Eltham (New Zealand), Linwood (New Zealand)
|| Taranaki Rugby News U21 Tour UK, N.Z. U21 Trialist, Wales A
In a team of ‘Young Guns’, Richard Karl Arnold is a veteran. A powerful and versatile forward who has played at Kingston Park for over ten years, Arnold was awarded a testimonial year in 2000/2001, the only Newcastle player to be so honoured to date, culminating in a match against Glasgow, won 20 – 3 by the Falcons.
Arnold joined the Falcons for the 1991/92 season, fresh from New Zealand. He was one of three Kiwis signed by Newcastle Gosforth’s first paid Director of Rugby, Mike Mahoney. Looking to take a year out, Arnold responded to an advert in ‘Rugby World’ stating that Newcastle Gosforth wanted players. Initially recruited as a second row player, Arnold soon moved to the back row.
The contrast between his home town of Eltham, on the west coast of North Island, New Zealand, - ‘three pubs, a supermarket, a cheese factory and 3,000 people’ – was made more stark when Arnold found himself living next door to an armed siege!
The Newcastle Gosforth side finished fourth in Courage Division Two in Arnold’s first season and the following year gained promotion to Division One. The 1993/94 season saw a return to Division Two and some changes of personnel. Arnold became captain as the side struggled through the 1994/95 season. Although they achieved third place in Courage Division Two, the club was plagued by financial problems, and the slide to relegation was a distinct possibility. A number of players, including Arnold, looked elsewhere. Along with Richard Metcalfe and Peter Walton, Arnold signed for West Hartlepool.
That Arnold never made it to West Hartlepool was due to the momentous changes that took place at the start of the 1995/96 season: rugby went professional, Newcastle Gosforth became the Newcastle Falcons, and Rob Andrew arrived as Director of Rugby. A week before he was due to start at West Hartlepool, Arnold signed for the Falcons.
Arnold has subsequently made a major contribution to winning promotion to Premiership Division One at the end of the 1996/97 season, winning the Premiership in 1997/98, victory over a World XV to win the Sanyo Cup, finishing as runners-up in the Tetley Bitter Cup in 1999, and the victory over Harlequins in February 2001 to win the Tetley Bitter Cup.
Arnold continues to make a big contribution to the Newcastle Falcons – as a Wasps player, Rob Andrew described Arnold as ‘a bloody nuisance’. Long may he continue to be so!
Profile by Falcon1 last updated 28/04/03 Photo courtesy of Newcastle Falcons
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