NEWCASTLE FALCONS have retained one of their most experienced players, with front-rower Rob Vickers having agreed a contract extension to remain at Kingston Park.

The 36-year-old has made 232 senior appearances during his 11 years as a Falcons player, and scored four tries last season as he successfully made the switch from hooker to loose-head.

“In the last few years I’ve played loads of rugby,” said Vickers. “I have been getting a lot of minutes on the field and that was a consideration. I still feel like I’m offering lots to the team and it’s great to be around for another year.

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“I was relatively late into professional rugby, which probably helps. I did my degree and my masters and then had three years working as a conditioning coach, so my body was pretty well-developed before it started getting battered around in the Premiership.

“I basically asked myself whether or not I’m still enjoying it and whether or not I still have something to offer the team, and the answer to both was yes.

 “I feel like I’ve had a reasonable season, I feel like there’s more to come and it was a case from there of sitting down with my wife and deciding as a family if I should give it another year.”

Falcons director of rugby Dean Richards clearly values Vickers’ continued involvement, and was keen to tie the veteran to a new deal.

“Bobby is a very valuable player for us who fronts up every single week and puts his body on the line,” said Richards. “He is a tremendously positive influence around the place, he looks after himself brilliantly and it’s great news that he will continue to be involved for us.”