England prop Kieran Brookes will leave Newcastle at the end of the season to join Northampton Saints.
Brookes came through the ranks with the Falcons, making his senior debut in 2009, before spending two years at Leicester.
He returned to Newcastle in 2012 and the 24-year-old has established himself as first choice tighthead with the Falcons.
His impressive performances saw him called up by England for last year’s June tour to New Zealand, where he made his debut off the bench in Dunedin.
Brookes will replace the departing Salesi Ma’afu in the Saints front row, and Jim Mallinder believes he will only get better at Franklin’s Gardens.
“Kieran has steadily risen through the various England representative teams and has shown his quality at each level, building up experience along the way,” he said.
“However while we believe that he can contribute a great deal to our squad we also think that Kieran has a lot more to come, and we are looking forward to seeing him develop as a player at Franklin’s Gardens.”
Brookes admits it will be a tough challenge to break into the Northampton first team, but maintains his focus will remain with Newcastle until the end of the season.
“I’m looking forward to joining Northampton Saints next season,” he commented.
“Their record over the last few seasons speaks for itself and I’m under no illusions of the quality of squad I’m going in to and the challenge that presents.
“I’ve really enjoyed my time at the Falcons and in particular working with John Wells and Micky Ward, both of whom have helped me massively, and in the meantime all my efforts will be concentrated on helping us finish as high up the league as we can.”