Will Welch: Newcastle Falcons captain signs fresh four-year deal
Captain Will Welch has signed a new four-year contract with Newcastle Falcons, despite relegation from the Premiership last season.
The back-rower, 29, has amassed 226 appearances and has been captain of the Kingston Park club since 2012.
Newcastle-born Welch signed professional terms in 2009 and skippered the Falcons to promotion from the Championship in 2013.
"He's an outstanding player and leader," boss Dean Richards said.
"He is hugely respected, works incredibly hard at every aspect of his preparation."
Welch's decision to stay is a boost to the Falcons, particularly given the pressure to return to the top flight at the first attempt.
The club has signed Cooper Vuna and retained other senior players such as Jon Welch, Sean Robinson and George McGuigan in their bid for promotion.
"We're using this season as a chance to re-set ourselves as a team but the great thing is we've managed to keep the majority of our squad together," Welch added to the club's official website.
"It's the nature of professional sport that a few players are going to move on but I feel we've got a good enough squad to go straight back up."