Newcastle Falcons have confirmed that fly half Jonny Wilkinson is leaving the club, to take up a new challenge in France.
Wilkinson, who turns 30 next week, scored 1,948 points in his 174 appearances for Newcastle during his 12-season stay, having joined straight from school back in 1997.
Falcons director of rugby, Steve Bates, who was also Wilkinson's school coach at Lord Wandsworth College, hailed his contribution to the club, saying: "Jonny will undoubtedly go down as one of Newcastle's all-time greats.
"He has contributed an incredible amount to this club over the past 12 seasons, and been an inspirational figurehead for rugby in the North-East.
"Even during the times when his appearances for us were restricted he has always remained a positive presence behind the scenes, and everyone here thanks him for his fantastic service as well as wishing him all the best for his new life over in France."
With Junior All Black Jimmy Gopperth signed up for the next three seasons and England Under-20s star Rob Miller rising through the ranks, Bates added: "This is a new chapter for Jonny, but it is also a new chapter for the club with the talent we have coming through here.
"There is naturally a sadness in saying goodbye to someone who has contributed so much to this club, but with our ambitious recruitment here this summer everybody at Newcastle Falcons is really excited about our prospects for next season and beyond."
The directors of ERC voted unanimously at a Board meeting to postpone all decisions including the release of further instalments of ERC's distributable central revenues to the six shareholder countries until 19 February next when the Board will meet again to reconsider the issue.