Toby Flood is ready to re-establish Newcastle back in the Gallagher Premiership after agreeing on a two-year contract extension.
With just nine games remaining in the Championship, the Falcons are twelve points clear of nearest challengers Ealing following 13 straight wins and are set for promotion back into the top flight.
They will now make that likely return with Flood on their roster after the 60-cap England international decided his future was best served by remaining at Kingston Park.
“It’s not a decision that has been taken lightly,” said the 34-year-old, who has won three Premiership titles in a career which has also seen him playing for Leicester Tigers and Toulouse.
“A lot of thought has gone into how my body is, and where I’m at in terms of being able to go again. After what happened last season with our relegation I feel a duty to set the record straight and put a few things right with regards to us competing well again in the Premiership, and I still feel I can make a positive contribution.”
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The north-east native has made 129 appearances in his two spells with the Falcons, whose winning streak in all competitions extended to 19 with last Sunday’s 40-7 league victory over Cornish Pirates. “We’re not in the Premiership yet and of course nothing is being taken for granted about our promotion, but I’m as keen as ever to keep on playing,” said Flood.
“It’s also a club that I have a huge amount of love for after coming through the academy here and being from the region, the opportunity to spend another couple of seasons as a Newcastle Falcons player really does mean a lot to me.”
Keen to help nurture the next generation of local talent, he added: “Everyone has seen this season how much quality we have coming through at the club in terms of the younger players, which really bodes well for our longer-term future.
Managing director Mick Hogan isn’t blaming @Saracens for the trauma @FalconsRugby are enduring in the Championship… but he tells @heagneyl it still leaves a sour taste belatedly finding out a @premrugby rival cheated last seasonhttps://t.co/CfYiZmovYZ
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) January 25, 2020
“But I think guys like myself, Will Welch and some of the other players who have been around for a little while – we can help those guys to progress and get the most out of their ability.”
Director of rugby Dean Richards said: “Toby is a tremendously experienced player with a vast amount of knowledge and ability, and it’s great news for us that he will remain here for the next two seasons.
“He is in good shape, he is a great example to any player in terms of how he looks after himself and his work ethic is as strong as ever.
“It is hard to put a value on the kind of know-how and leadership that he brings to our environment, and it’s always great to have that core of good local lads who know what rugby in this region is all about.”
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