Newcastle Falcons have bolstered their forward stocks after acquiring the services of Jersey prop Sam Lockwood for the 2016/17 season.
The 27-year-old loosehead, a former England Students international, has spent the last three seasons with the RFU Championship outfit, whom he joined from Yorkshire Carnegie.
Delighted to have sealed his move to the North East, the 6 foot 2, 118kg Yorkshireman said: “The opportunity to play in the top flight is definitely the main driver for me.
“It all came through very quickly, and I am really looking forward to being at the Falcons and living in the area. I am friends with Calum Green who plays up there, he spoke very highly of the club and that helped make it an easy decision for me.”
Detailing his playing background, Lockwood explained: “I have been playing down at Jersey for the last three years. I went to university at Leeds Met, did my England Students through there and got an opportunity to play at Leeds Carnegie, as they were called at the time.
"I was there for three and a half seasons, went on loan to Jersey and thought I would be better getting some playing time over there.
“I ended up staying with Jersey for three seasons. It has been a good time down there and I enjoyed it – very wet in the winter and hot in the summer. It was a nice place to play but I am looking forward to Newcastle now, and the new challenge that awaits me.”
Confident his skill set will tally with what the Falcons are trying to do as a team, he added: “I played against Newcastle for Leeds when they were in the Championship.
"They have a good balance about how they try to play. They have a strong pack, they throw the ball around and it is a good track to play on every week of the year, even when the weather is bad.
“I would like to think I am a strong defender, I like to carry, my set-piece is good and I enjoy the scrummaging and mauling aspects of the game. Hopefully I can help improve all of those areas even further through this move.”
Newcastle Falcons director of rugby Dean Richards echoed Lockwood’s enthusiasm around the move.
“Sam has been recognised as the best scrummaging loose-head in the RFU Championship," he said.
"He is a good all-round player who will benefit from the challenge of stepping up to the Aviva Premiership.”