Rob Vickers will pack down for another season at Newcastle Falcons – the evergreen front-rower having agreed a contract extension to remain with the Kingston Park club.
Vickers, 35, has played 232 times in 11 years for the Falcons, switching from hooker to loose-head prop in a move which has seen the Yorkshireman dotting down four tries this season.
Playing the fifth-most minutes of any Falcons player during the 2016-17 campaign (1,579 minutes), the Yorkshireman said: “In the last few years I’ve played loads of rugby, I have been getting a lot of minutes on the field and that was a consideration. I still feel like I’m offering lots to the team and it’s great to be around for another year.
“I was relatively late into professional rugby, which probably helps. I did my degree and my masters and then had three years working as a conditioning coach, so my body was pretty well-developed before it started getting battered around in the Premiership.”
Keen to carry his form into next season after another hugely consistent campaign, Vickers said: “I basically asked myself whether or not I’m still enjoying it and whether or not I still have something to offer the team, and the answer to both was yes.
“I feel like I’ve had a reasonable season, I feel like there’s more to come and it was a case from there of sitting down with my wife and deciding as a family if I should give it another year.
“As well as making a contribution on the field I believe I can try and offer something to our younger players who are coming through, to help them achieve their potential, and when I sat down with our director of rugby Dean Richards he wanted me to be here.
“That was always the main thing, seeing if I was still wanted, and once that was established I had a good sit-down with my wife about going again for another season.
“I’ve always wanted to leave the club in a better place than when I joined it, and that’s really important to me. I know I’m just a small part of that process, and the other thing is the Falcons fans. They’ve always been great with me, I’ve had endless support from them and likewise from the club. They’ve been loyal to me, they’ve backed me and hopefully I can return that loyalty.”
Delighted to have retained Vickers’ services for another season, Richards said: “Bobby is a very valuable player for us who fronts up every single week and puts his body on the line.
“He is a tremendously positive influence around the place, he looks after himself brilliantly and it’s great news that he will continue to be involved for us.”
Season ticket memberships for 2017-18 are already available by calling 0871 226 6060, clicking here Kingston Park Stadium in person.