New Falcons contract for Gopperth
Aviva Premiership strugglers Newcastle have announced a new three-year contract for their New Zealand import Jimmy Gopperth.
In agreeing fresh terms, fly-half Gopperth has ended speculation about his playing future, having reportedly been a target for other Premiership clubs and teams in France.
It is also a major boost for the Falcons' new rugby director Gary Gold as Newcastle try to save their Premiership status this season. Goalkicker Gopperth, 28, joined Newcastle in 2009 and has twice won the Premiership's golden boot award as top points-scorer for the season.
"My family and I are delighted to have been given the opportunity to extend my contract," he said. "I have been humbled by the offers from other clubs. However, I feel that I have unfinished business here.
"I have a lot of respect for club owner Semore Kurdi. He is not a man of many words, but his ambition, drive and belief in this club is clear for all to see.
"I wholeheartedly believe that we have a great squad here. The team environment is second to none, and I am excited to see what we as a team can produce going forward."
Earlier this week, former England forwards specialist John Wells joined the Falcons coaching staff headed by Gold, linking up with ex-England defence coach Mike Ford and Paul Moriarty.
"I am extremely delighted that Jimmy has committed his future to the club, and it is an incredibly strong sign of intent," Gold said.
"I know full well that there were a host of other clubs after his signature. He is an internationally-renowned player who has made his intentions clearly known. It is a massive step forward for the club.
"I think you are going to see a couple more talented Falcons players signing new deals in the next few weeks, too."