Mark Wilson in action against Petrarca in the Amlin Challenge Cup
Mark Wilson has been rewarded for his recent fine form by signing a new three-year contract with the Newcastle Falcons.
The 22-year-old back-rower has been in sublime form of late, playing a full 80 minutes in each of the Falcons' last six games in all competitions and has committed his future to the ambitious English club, spearheaded by owner Semore Kurdi.
"Our owner Semore Kurdi wants me to stay here and be a part of the club's future, and I was always keen to stay on board," said Wilson, who scooped last season's Academy Player of the Season award. "I am happy in Newcastle, I am really enjoying my rugby with the Falcons and I am getting a lot first-team exposure. At my age that is vitally important, and the ambition of the club is there for everyone to see with guys like Jimmy Gopperth signing up for another three seasons," added Wilson.
He has enjoyed a good run of games under new director of rugby Gary Gold and admits he has been enthused by the arrival of defence coach Mike Ford and specialist coach John Wells. "They have boosted confidence around the place and have given me lots of feedback - that is what I like as a player. Regardless of what happens this season there is a great future in store here."
As part of the build-up to next month's Cardiff 2014 Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals weekend, ERC has joined forces with the WRU, Cardiff Blues and adidas to develop an annual grassroots community rugby programme targeting young players.
The Ulster Rugby full back, Jared Payne (No 15), has been suspended for two (2) weeks following an independent Disciplinary Hearing in Dublin arising from the Heineken Cup quarter-final match against Saracens at Ravenhill Stadium on Saturday, 5 April.