England star Mathew Tait has extended his contract with the Newcastle Falcons until the summer of 2009, taking his lead from England colleague Jonny Wilkinson, who recently signed to the Tyneside team.
22-year-old Tait has 20 caps for his country, including a starting berth in the centres at last year's World Cup Final. He has made 73 starts for the Falcons, who he started to play for while still taking his A-Levels.
Tait, who is predicted to switch to full-back position, said that the Falcons' attacking style of rugby was a determining factor in his decision to stay.
"It is always a big decision when contracts come up for renewal, but I'm delighted to have agreed a new deal and look forward to helping the Falcons fulfil their ambitions," said Tait.
"Newcastle is a fantastic club with a massive amount of quality, and under (director of rugby) John Fletcher there are exciting times ahead.
"We play a fast brand of attacking rugby, and as a player it's great fun to be part of as well as being a very challenging style of play. It is a great environment to be in with a focus on learning and improving every single day in training, and that was a major factor in my decision."
Fletcher admits that he is glad to have signed Tait before another Guinness Premiership could tempt him.
"Mathew is among the most gifted young players in the world, and the fact that he sees his future at Newcastle Falcons is further endorsement of what we are doing here and the level of ambition currently at the club," said Fletcher.
"It no secret that a number of other top teams were keen on signing Mathew, but he is a vital part of our jigsaw and is fully buying in to what we are doing here at the moment.
"Coming on the back of Jonny Wilkinson pledging his future to the Falcons and the arrival of world class talent like Carl Hayman this is a club where the top players want to be, and Mathew is no exception."