Newcastle Falcons flanker Will Welch to retire at end of season

Will Welch has made 275 appearances for Newcastle Falcons
Will Welch has made 275 appearances for Newcastle Falcons

Newcastle Falcons flanker Will Welch will be retiring from professional rugby at the end of the ongoing campaign.

A product of Newcastle Academy, Welch made his senior debut with the club in 2009 and has racked up 275 appearances for the club. He became the Falcons’ youngest ever captain when he took over the reins at the age of just 22.

“It’s meant the world to me for me to play for the team I used to come and watch when I was a kid," he told the club's official website.

“From being in the Falcons academy, signing professionally as a teenager and going on to spend my whole career here – the whole thing has just been a dream.”

Having suffered an ankle injury this season, Welch will now remain second on the list of the club's all-time appearance makers tied with Tom May.

The 33-year-old said the injury played a major role in his decision to step down.

“I’ve had an ankle issue for the past couple of seasons which has been niggling me every week, and I just needed to get it sorted.

“It’s a six-month recovery which unfortunately takes me past the end of this season, but on the positive side it will fix it for life after rugby. I’ll at least be able to run around with my kids, and I’m retiring on my own terms.

“I’ve been thinking about retirement for a little while now, and it was probably going to come at some point in the near future anyway with the way my ankle was. Coupled with the fact I have a career opportunity outside of rugby, it just feels like the right time.

“I could potentially have tried to hold on for another year, but I don’t want to do it that way. This decision just means I’m doing it on my own terms and I know this is my last season, rather than having it forced upon me.”