VERENIKI GONEVA is looking forward to a bright future with Newcastle Falcons after signing a new long-term deal at Kingston Park.

Goneva has proved a revelation during his two seasons on Tyneside, scoring 17 tries in 28 Aviva Premiership matches and winning last season’s Falcons Player of the Year and Players’ Player of the Year Awards.

The 33-year-old Fijian has dotted down eight tries in his ten outings this season, scoring in his last three matches to help propel Newcastle into the top half of the table.

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“I have loved my two years with the Falcons and it is great to be able to extend that time,” said Goneva, who is the second-top try scorer in this season’s Premiership. “It’s a very positive environment here at Kingston Park, we are making good progress and I have been made to feel at home in Newcastle. I’m excited about what this club can achieve in the future and I’m glad that I will be part of it.

“I didn’t start playing professionally until my mid-20s so I have a lot of rugby ahead of me, I feel like I’m in great shape and it was an easy decision in terms of staying with Newcastle.  I love the city, there’s lots to enjoy up here outside of the game and I see a really bright future for the Falcons.”

Goneva’s athletic wing play has become a key part of Falcons’ attacking arsenal, and director of rugby Dean Richards was understandably delighted to have tied him one of his side’s biggest assets.

“Niki is a model professional who keeps himself in amazing shape and delivers time and time again on the field,” he said. “He is an extremely humble guy who very quietly goes about his business, his ability to score tries is truly in the world-class bracket and it’s fantastic news for Newcastle Falcons that he will be staying with us.”