Newcastle Falcons have agreed a permanent deal to sign centre Fred Burdon following a successful trial spell with the club.
The 26-year-old came through the Falcons' academy and played for Cambridge University, where he graduated with a first class honours degree in chemistry and played in the Varsity Match against Oxford University at Twickenham.
Going on to earn a contract at Championship club Doncaster Knights, Burdon moved to rivals Yorkshire Carnegie where he was voted their 2013/14 player of the season. Making 58 appearances for them over three seasons, he then headed to Australia where he played Shute Shield rugby for Sydney University from May of this year until the start of his Newcastle trial in August.
Falcons director of rugby Dean Richards said after finalising a deal for the midfield man: "Fred is a local lad with a big affinity for this club. He came through our academy and has impressed us during his trial spell, so it is great that we have been able to arrange a permanent move."
Burdon bolsters the Falcons' pool of centres at a time when Chris Harris has been ruled out for up to four months following the ankle injury picked up at Bath a fortnight ago, while Adam Powell will be sidelined for around six months with anterior cruciate knee ligament damage.
Happy to be back on home soil having played his junior rugby for Northern FC in Newcastle, Burdon said: "Everyone has been really welcoming during my trial spell, it has been a great environment to come into and I have enjoyed the games I have played in against Gala, Northampton A and Leicester A.
"I am looking to contribute in any way I can, and it is fantastic to be back at the club.
"I used to watch the Falcons from the terraces as a supporter when I was a kid, I enjoyed being in the academy here and it has been helpful for me having some of those guys now part of the first team squad.
"Our captain Will Welch was my school captain at Royal Grammar School, it is great to be playing with guys I get on with and ultimately for the team I still support."