Newcastle Falcons have handed new contracts to local backs Alex Tait and Tom Catterick, as the club continue preparations for the new Aviva Premiership season.
The pair, both former Barnard Castle schoolboys, have signed two-year deals, reinforcing the club’s commitment to homegrown talent.
Tait, who played his 100th game for the Falcons during last season’s Championship-winning campaign, made his first-team debut as a teenager back in 2008, scoring a hat-trick against Spanish champions Cetransa El Salvador.
Younger brother of Leicester and former England centre Mathew, the 25-year-old has featured at centre and wing during his Newcastle career.
Seemingly settling on full-back, Tait started both legs of the Championship final in the No 15 shirt and scored one of two Newcastle tries in the decisive second meeting with Bedford.
Catterick, also a versatile back, made 10 consecutive starts at fullback during the club’s promotion campaign.
Shining on the wing during a regular season in which they lost only a single game, the retention of the former England Under-20s, 18s and 16s cap adds to the mood of stability at Kingston Park as they return to the big time.
Director of rugby Dean Richards is in London tomorrow as the Premiership fixtures are announced, and the former Harlequins boss has so far kept changes to a minimum in readying his squad for the top flight.
Jimmy Gopperth’s departure to Leinster has seen former Falcons Phil Godman and Rory Clegg returning to the club, while Munster centre Danny Barnes, London Irish hooker Scott Lawson, Brive scrum-half Mike Blair and Sale lock Fraser McKenzie are the new faces confirmed so far.
Kieran Brookes and Adam Powell have also extended their stays after joining towards the tail end of last season, while former lock- forward Andy Perry has been brought into the strength and conditioning department.