Tuesday 20 August 2013 Written by: Adam

Academy product Welch, 23, who skippered the Falcons to promotion back to the Aviva Premiership last term, embarks on his fifth season with his hometown club.

“I’m really pleased to get the opportunity to captain the side again, especially being back up in the Aviva Premiership,” said the former RGS pupil, who captains the northeasterners for the second season running.

“I learnt a lot from my first year as captain – there is a great bunch of guys around me who are all working really hard, and we are looking in good shape going into the season,” he added.

Representing England at under-18s, 19s and 20s level, the openside flanker signed a two-year contract extension at Kingston Park towards the end of last season.

Newcastle director of rugby Dean Richards said: “Will [Welch] proved his worth as club captain last season, and he matured into the role as the season went on.

“The Aviva Premiership is a big step up, but I’m confident Will can handle the pressures that come with the captaincy.”

Welch leads his team out against Connacht this weekend (kick-off 3pm) with tickets still available for the game by calling the Falcons Ticket Hotline on 0871 226 6060 or click here to purchase online.