Dominic Waldouck has signed a new contract with Newcastle Falcons which will also allow the experienced centre to study at Oxford University.
The Premiership and Heineken Cup winner, 29, has made 23 appearances for the Falcons during his first season with the club, scoring two tries in his 18 Aviva Premiership outings.
As well as his rugby commitments with Newcastle he will pursue a Masters degree at Oxford University, and hopes to play in the annual Varsity Match against Cambridge University at Twickenham.
Having joined the Falcons from American side Ohio Aviators last summer, the former England tourist said: “I’ve really enjoyed this year with Newcastle and I was desperate to remain part of this group of players, because it’s such an exciting squad which is moving in the right direction.
“I had a place to study at Oxford University this season, which I deferred until next season when the original opportunity at Newcastle Falcons came up, and I’m going to be playing rugby alongside my studies next season. It’s a perfect situation for me.”
Elaborating on the nature of his studies, the former Wasps, Northampton Saints and London Irish man said: “I’m doing a Masters in sustainable urban development, and my research proposal is around social capital in diverse populations. It’s a really cool situation to be in and I’m excited by the way things have worked out.
“I’m loving my time with the Falcons and it means I can stay part of this group. For the first term, which runs from October to December, I will be down in Oxford, and then after that I’ll have some study weeks during certain parts of the season.
“I’ll hopefully be playing for Oxford University in the Varsity Match if things work out on that side, although first and foremost I’m going there to study.
“If I did get to play against Cambridge University at Twickenham it would be another great experience to embrace as a rugby player, and I’ve been lucky in my career that I’ve always had the chance to do a wide variety of different things. I’ve played in American club rugby last year, played in London and the North East, and I’ve always loved to challenge myself.”
Newcastle Falcons director of rugby Dean Richards said: “We knew when we signed Dom last summer that we were getting a player of proven ability, and he has shown it by being a regular and consistent performer for us.
“He is keen to pursue his studies at Oxford and we as a club will support him in that. We will have a good group of centres with new signings like Maxime Mermoz and Josh Matavesi complementing the guys who are already at the club, and it’s fantastic that we will be able to carry on working with Dom.”