NEWCASTLE FALCONS hooker George McGuigan has signed a new two-year deal at Kingston Park after cementing a first-team spot this season.

The Richmond-born 20-year-old, who is a product of the Falcons academy, has made 18 appearances since making his senior debut as a second-half replacement against Gloucester last September.

An Ireland under-20 international, McGuigan has proved himself on the Aviva Premiership stage and is delighted to have secured his long-term future with Falcons.

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“I’m really happy with how my season has gone so far and want to continue to improve as a player,” said the front rower. “Dean Richards (director of rugby)and John Wells (forwards coach) have really helped my development, and this year they have shown a lot of faith in me by giving me some game time which I’m extremely grateful for.

“My aim is to keep churning out solid performances and hopefully I can hold down a more regular place in the first team.”

McGuigan underlined his credentials as a burgeoning talent with a man-of-the-match display as Falcons beat Bucharest Wolves in the Amlin Challenge Cup last month.

“We have been monitoring George’s progress throughout this season and he’s really stepped up to the mark when called upon,” said Richards. “It’s always nice to see local lads coming through the academy system, and George’s performances in the first team coupled with his professional attitude off the field merits the offer of a new contract.

“He’s enjoying his rugby and I’m sure he will want to kick on now and cement his place in the team.”