England Under-20s flanker Will Welch has committed his immediate future to Newcastle Falcons by putting pen to paper on a one-year extension to his contract.
The 19-year-old former RGS Newcastle pupil has scored one try in 16 appearances for the Falcons this season and has represented the national team at Under-18, 19 and 20 level.
Welch, who made his Newcastle debut at Newport Gwent Dragons last season, follows Rob Vickers, Alex Tait, Chris Pilgrim and Micky Ward in signing on with the club.
"This is an ambitious club, and it's where I want to be,” said Welch.
"I've really enjoyed this season, getting more involved with the first team side of things and being part of a Falcons pack with a growing reputation.
"We have a fantastic squad here at the club, the majority of which is already signed up for next season, and I want to be part of the bright future here at Kingston Park with the quality we have on board."
And after handing Welch nine starts and seven bench appearances this season, director of rugby Steve Bates insists there’s more to come from his young starlet.
"This was an absolutely key renewal for us,” said Bates.
"Will is an outstanding young player who has continued to improve during his time at the club, and who will only get better with more experience.
"He brings a lot to the back row with his athleticism and work at the breakdown, his ball-carrying and general footballing ability.
“His signing represents our continued commitment to young English players, and to giving our top local talent the chance to shine on the Guinness Premiership stage.
"With most of our talented players already under contract things are continuing to shape up well for next season.
“We have firm foundations in place, and the fact that our top young players are buying into it gives us further optimism as we continue our preparations for the coming campaign."