IN the week in which he hopes to play his 200th game for Newcastle Falcons, Alex Tait has pledged his future to the club by signing a new long-term contract.

The versatile back, who turned 29 last month, will reach his double century of competitive appearances if he features in Friday's Aviva Premiership visit of Gloucester.

Having come through Falcons’ academy after playing his junior rugby with Consett and Barnard Castle School, the Wolsingham native scored a hat-trick on his senior debut against Spanish side Cetransa El Salvador in November 2007.

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“In terms of my own contract extension, the first person I wanted to speak to was our director of rugby Dean Richards, and I wanted to get it done early,” said Tait, who has committed himself to Kingston Park for another three years. “I just wanted to know if Newcastle were keen to keep me, because I am happy here and didn’t want to go anywhere else.

“I enjoy it up here, I love the club and I feel like we’re making progress. Thankfully, Dean said he would be delighted if I stayed, and it was all worked out very quickly from there.

“I just think we have a good core of lads who are hungry to succeed, to win something, and this is the place I want to be. I’m very happy outside the club, too, and I’ve always wanted to win trophies with the Falcons. I like the squad we’re building and it will be great to be around here for the next three years.”

Glad to have tied one of his most consistent performers to a new deal, Richards said: “Alex has done incredibly well for this club, and over the last four or five years has cemented his place in the side.

“He has turned in extremely consistent performances which are right up there at the top, and he is a guy who doesn’t shirk away from hard work. We’re delighted he has pledged his future to us.”