Newcastle Falcons have secured the services of five front row forwards for the near future after four props and a hooker put pen to paper at Kingston Park.
Props Micky Ward, David Wilson and Jon Golding have signed two-year deals at the club as has hooker Ross Batty. Meanwhile prop Jonny Williams has penned a three-year deal.
Falcons forward coach Peter Walton said: "All five players represent a key part of our plans as we build for the future.
"Everyone knows the contribution Micky Ward continues to make with his fierce passion and commitment, while we are also fortunate to have such outstanding front row prospects as David, Jon, Ross and Johnny with us."
Twenty eight year-old Ward has made 172 competitive appearances for the Falcons, with the Wallsend-born front rower turning out 22 times this season in Newcastle colours.
Hooker Batty made his Falcons debut this season after a loan spell with Wairarapa Bush in New Zealand, while Golding and Williams have both featured for the first team during the 2006/7 campaign.
South-Shields-born Wilson signed a two-year deal having helped England to the Under-21s Grand Slam last season, as well as earning a call-up to this season’s England Saxons squad.
As he finalises his squad for the 2007/8 campaign, director of rugby John Fletcher added: "This is the first in what will be a number of key contract announcements as we complete deals to keep our top players, taking the club to the next level as we build for the long term.
"As well as keeping the front row talent we presently have at the club we are also actively looking to add quality and experience in that area, building on the good progress we have seen in the pack this season."