Will Witty has become the fifth player in two weeks to sign a new contract with Newcastle Falcons after agreeing a two year extension to his current contract.
Witty, 19, will continue as a member of the Falcons’ Senior Academy after originally joining the club in November 2013. He said:
"I really enjoy it here. As a player I’ve learned a lot, especially from Jimmy (Ponton) and Marko (Laycock) and from the senior players, and it’s a good club to be at. Staying on in the Senior Academy is the next stage for me and I’ll hopefully keep improving and keep learning."
Originally moving to Newcastle to study an Agriculture degree at Newcastle University, Yorkshire-born Witty signed with the Falcons Academy after impressing in a string of Aviva A League appearances.
Witty made his first senior appearance for the club from the bench against Saracens in last season’s LV= Cup competition and has already collected another three appearances this term, including a try-scoring European debut at home to Bucharest Wolves last October.
Having already played for England Students and represented his country at Under 18s and 19s level, 2014-15 has seen Witty receive his first call up to the England Under 20s squad, in which he will be hoping to feature during this year’s Six Nations competition.
"For me the season so far has gone well. I feel like I’ve progressed and learned a lot so it’s paid off and thanks to the coaches for giving me that opportunity and some good time in there for the games so yeah, I think the first half has gone pretty well for me.
"Obviously the club’s doing well as a team too and is definitely going places so I was over the moon to be offered a new contract."
Standing at 6’5” and weighing over 18 stone, Witty already offers a strong presence in the Second Row and lineout prowess beyond his years. Still only 19 though, he is one of a talented crop of youngsters currently making a name for themselves in the Falcons’ Academy.
"This is a good place to be for younger players; the fact that all of the Academy lads train with the senior squad I think is really starting to pay off for us because you’re now seeing a few of the younger lads coming through and playing well.
"Because there’s no separation in training when we’re involved in the matches we’re used to playing with everyone so I think it’s going pretty well and it’s a good opportunity here with lots going on."
And with a number of this year’s Senior Academy players such as Chris Harris and Simon Hammersley having made a name for themselves amongst the senior squad this season, Witty’s ambitions for the next two years are clear. "I’m always looking to try and push on and get involved with the first team so that will always be the goal and I think that’ll be a massive focus next year."
Speaking of the re-signing Falcons Academy Manager Mark Laycock said: "We’re delighted that Will has agreed to continue his development with the club. He has come a long way since joining us from Leeds Carnegie as an 18 year old and to be selected in the England U20 squad this year is testament to the hard work he puts in every day."