Murray move to Falcons can boost Scots

EUAN MURRAY has improved his hopes of retaining his place in the Scotland squad by joining Newcastle Falcons.

The 30-year-old tighthead prop left Northampton two weeks ago after dropping out of Jim Mallinder's plans.

Murray realised he needed to be playing regular rugby to have any chance of staying in Andy Robinson's squad. He has opted to join Alan Tait, the former Scotland player and coach, at Kingston Park.

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After confirming he had signed a contract until at least the summer of 2013, Murray said: "I can't wait to get stuck in and I'm really looking forward to pulling on the Falcons jersey. The move was the best option for me and my family."

Murray's problems at Northampton stemmed from his refusal to play on Sundays due to his Christian beliefs. Newcastle face Leeds this Sunday and then are away to Wasps the following Sunday, so Murray is expected to make his Falcons debut against Sale on Friday January 7. Bolstered by a reputed 2 million investment in the club from Newcastle businessman Semore Kurdi, Tait was desperate to strengthen his pack. Murray's sudden availability made him an ideal replacement for Carl Hayman, the All Blacks prop who left Newcastle in the summer.

"Our preferred time to play our games is a Friday night and while some games do get moved for television, we will have Euan available for more games than we would most current internationals," said Tait.

Chairman Dave Thompson added: "With Saracens owning their ground next season it is likely that only Wasps and Irish will play their home games on a Sunday."