Latu re-signs with Falcons

Date published: May 5 2016

Newcastle have received a major boost with the news that inspirational flanker Nili Latu has signed an extended deal to stay at the club.

The Tonga captain was already contracted for next season but has committed for even longer, saying it was an easy decision to make.

"It was an absolute no-brainer. I have loved my first season with the Falcons, the fans have been awesome, I love the city and we have a great squad here," he said.

"I am enjoying my time here and would like to stay longer. The team and the club has been great, I was keen to commit and it is great to have it all sorted.

"I feel we have an outstanding captain in Will Welch, some great senior players around him and it just makes it so easy when you have that in place. We can just focus on playing rugby because the set-up is so good, and I want to be part of something at a club with great history like this. It was a very simple decision."

Admitting he has some way to go in mastering the Geordie language, Tonga's most-capped player joked: "I am still trying to figure out the way they speak up here! There has been a lot of time spent asking people to repeat themselves, but my Geordie is coming along slowly and this is an area I have really fallen in love with.

"Our fans have been awesome with myself and the team. They travel huge distances to support us, they are always behind us and it is great at Kingston Park to play in front of them."

Head coach John Wells spoke of his delight at Latu's new deal, saying of the back-row forward: "Nili has been a fantastic presence.

"He does things his way which means we have to compromise a little bit in some areas, and so does he. But the intensity he brings to a game, his winning mentality and the physicality he shows has been a breath of fresh air. It has helped a lot of the other guys and given them a bit of a kick.

"He doesn't have to say much, he does everything by his actions and it is an endorsement of the club that a guy of his quality is committing himself here. It is fantastic news, he has had a great first season and I am sure we will get more out of him next season, as well as Nili getting even more out of the people around him."