Newcastle Falcons hooker George McGuigan has signed a two-year contract extension with the Aviva Premiership club.
McGuigan, 20, who is a product of the Falcons academy, has featured 18-times this campaign including six starts.
Making his senior debut as a second-half replacement at home to Gloucester Rugby last September, the Ireland U20s hit-man was handed his first start at Bucharest Wolves in the Amlin Challenge Cup two weeks later.
Qualifying for the Emerald Isle by virtue of his Irish parents, the Richmond-born number two, who represented his country at the Junior World Cup last year, is delighted to have inked a new deal with the North East club.
"I'm really happy with how my season has gone so far and I want to continue to improve as a player," said McGuigan.
"Dean Richards and forwards coach John Wells have really helped my development, and this year they have shown a lot of faith in me by giving me some game time which I'm extremely grateful for.
"My aim is to keep churning out solid performances and hopefully I can hold down a more regular place in the first team," he added.
McGuigan underlined his credentials as a future Aviva Premiership star with a man-of-the-match display when the Falcons entertained Bucharest last month.
"We have been monitoring the progress of George throughout this season and he's really stepped up to the mark when called upon," said Falcons boss Dean Richards.
"It's always nice to see local lads coming through the academy system, and George's performances in the first team coupled with his professional attitude off the field merits the offer of a new contract.
"He's enjoying his rugby and I'm sure he will want to kick-on now and cement his place in the team."