England rugby star David Wilson has returned to the region after signing for Newcastle Falcons.
The vastly experienced prop, from South Shields, is back in the North East seven years after leaving the Falcons for Bath.
Capped 44 times by England, the 31-year-old tight-head has signed on a permanent basis with immediate effect.
Newcastle Falcons director of rugby Dean Richards said: “This is a signing which underlines our ambitious plans for the club and our commitment to providing a platform for homegrown players.
“Davey is someone I have long admired, he is from the area and his playing qualities are obvious. He has a wealth of Aviva Premiership and international experience under his belt and he will make a significant contribution to the improvements we are working towards.
“He understands what Newcastle Falcons means to people in this region, his scrummaging and all-round understanding of the game is fantastic and with Davey on board we have added absolute top quality ability in such a key area of the field.”
South Shields native Wilson came through the Falcons’ academy via Westoe RFC and Harton School, making his first-team debut aged 18 and going on to make 54 league appearances and a further 13 in Europe.
Departing for Bath in the summer of 2009 he made his England debut against Argentina in June of that year, becoming a mainstay of the England pack for the subsequent six seasons.
Playing in both the 2011 and 2015 Rugby World Cups, the renowned scrummager also boasts a total of 156 Aviva Premiership appearances as well as another 51 European outings.
Speaking on his homecoming, Wilson said: “I have been considering this move for a while and it is fantastic that we have been able to finalise everything.
“I came through the academy here at Newcastle, I loved playing for the club and I have been watching from a distance these past few years taking note of all the improvements going on at Kingston Park. They are doing good things under Dean Richards, the set-up seems much more professional and the quality of the squad is outstanding.
“I enjoyed watching their game against Leicester at the weekend, they are playing some great rugby and I can’t wait to get going.”