England centre Jamie Noon has confirmed he will be leaving Newcastle Falcons this summer to join a French club.
Noon, who turns 30 on Saturday, is the latest player to quit the Guinness Premiership in favour of a move across the channel, following in the footsteps of fellow England internationals James Haskell, Riki Flutey, Tom Palmer, Iain Balshaw and Ayoola Erinle.
"This has not been an easy decision, because Newcastle Falcons is a tremendous club which has really made me what I am today,” Noon, who has spent 10 seasons in the north east, said.
"The supporters have always been fantastic during every single one of my 10 years here, and I hope they can understand that this is not a decision I have taken lightly.
"I have received an offer to go and experience something new over in France, and with our three children being so young myself and my wife Rachel were never going to get the chance again as a family to go and sample such a different way of life and a new culture."
Noon, who has scored 55 tries in 241 appearances for Newcastle, added: "I would like to thank Newcastle for allowing me to take up this challenge, and for their understanding in what has been an extremely difficult decision in leaving a club where I have so many good friends and fond memories.
"I have no doubt that the club will go from strength to strength with the quality of players and coaches at Kingston Park, and I wish the Falcons and their supporters all the best for the future."
Falcons director of rugby Steve Bates paid tribute to the impact Noon, a member of England’s 2007 World Cup squad, has had on Tyneside.
He said: "Jamie has been an outstanding performer for this club during every single one of his 10 seasons.
"Not only that, but his attitude in training and behind the scenes has been a key contributory factor to the success we have enjoyed, including three cup final appearances and two Twickenham victories. He came here as a teenager but has grown into a man, cementing his place in our first team before going on to achieve well-deserved international recognition."
Bates added: "Jamie has thought long and hard about what was clearly a massive decision, but after the enormous amount he has given to this club during the past 10 years we were never going to stand in his way.
"He leaves with our best wishes, and I am sure he will go on to be a big success at his new club."