Robust prop Jon Golding admits his affection for Newcastle Falcons was a key factor behind his decision to extend his contract at Kingston Park.Speaking ahead of Sunday’s crunch Aviva Premiership clash at Leeds Carnegie, the 28-year-old who was strongly linked with a move away from the club, is delighted to have signed a new deal.
“It’s a club that I love,” said Golding.
“I used to watch the club as a child and I love the area. My family is very settled here and I want to be part of something very special at this club.
“I know we’re not sitting where we want to be at the minute but I believe in this squad and I think we’re going to pull it around,” he added.
The Ashington born loose head joined the Falcons in the summer of 2006 having previously enjoyed a stint at fellow premiership outfit Northampton Saints, whom he joined from Leicester Tigers academy.
Golding’s rise up the professional ladder culminated in a call-up to the England squad for their Australasian tour last summer.
On Wednesday, news broke of Golding’s decision to commit his future to the club with chairman Dave Thompson, adding: “After lengthy discussions we are very pleased to keep Jon at the club.”
Now the 6ft 0’ front rower is determined to prove his worth, starting with the Falcons trip to West Yorkshire.
Golding said: “There are just no easy games in the premiership these days and it’s been like that for a few years now. Leeds are a dogged team who fight for everything and if you’re going to beat a team like Leeds you need to bring that fight to the game.
“We’re well aware of the threat of Leeds and we’re geared up for the test. It’s going to be a fiery encounter and one that I’m looking forward to.”
Following the disappointment of last week’s home defeat to Exeter Chiefs, the former Millfield School pupil insists spirits are high in the camp.
He said: “As a group of players we’ve come together well and we had a team meal to talk through a few things this week which was good. The next challenge is Leeds and we have to come together as a group, making sure we play well.
“Leeds have got a fantastic scrum and they’ve been scrummaging well which was visible against Northampton and Saracens. I think the whole forward pack is really strong with hard workers so we’re going to have to beat them man for man.
“The backs are also physical so we’re going to have to go out there as a team from one to 15 and prove our worth.”
With considerable media attention directed at Sunday’s game, Golding said: “We’re aware of what’s going on around us but as players we need to be fully focussed. We need this result and obviously this is a very important game.
“We need to give an 80 minute performance and that’s up to us as players to go out there and show what we can do. I’m sure if we do that we’ll get what we want out of the game.
“Hopefully we’ll start well. If we don’t we’ll have to keep ploughing on as the game is 80 minutes and games are won or lost more often in the second half.
“It’s all about a good 80 minute performance, cutting out the silly mistakes and playing smart rugby.”