Newcastle have completed the signing of former England and Saracens second-row Mouritz Botha from the Sharks.
The veteran lock joins the Falcons after one season back in South Africa playing Super Rugby in Durban.
Before that, Botha had spent five years with Saracens, during which time he earned ten England caps. Falcons director of rugby Dean Richards was delighted with his arrival.
"I’m very pleased to have been able to secure Mouritz’s services; he is a proven talent at the highest levels of the game and will add another dimension to our second row options," said Richards.
"He has a vast array of experience in two of rugby’s best club competitions and we are looking forward to seeing him deliver the sort of performances that were his trademark during his time with Saracens.
“With three other full internationals alongside him, we have a very deep talent pool to draw on this season at lock alongside some exciting young prospects who will only benefit from having Mouritz around."
"I’m very excited to join the Falcons," added Botha. "Newcastle are in a position to make a real impact on the Premiership this year and I am looking to help them rise up the table and push for a place in Europe.
"I want to contribute to the growing success of the club and I am also exited to learn from Dean while making the transition from player to coach eventually."