Colin Charvis has outlined his enthusiasm to get Newcastle Falcons back to the top of the English game, with the Wales captain having arrived at the club this week.
The 31-year-old has been training with his new colleagues at Kingston Park, and said: "When I decided to leave Tarbes in France last season, I wanted to challenge myself and play at the very top level in British rugby.
"I came up here a while ago to look at the facilities, and in the week I've been at the club so far, I've been really impressed."
Charvis gets a chance to link up with his former Wales and Lions fitness and conditioning coach, Steve Black, something which was a major attraction in coming to the north-east.
"Blackie's just outstanding, and he has his own unique approach to training which works really well, so I'm glad to be back working with him," he said.
Black repaid the compliment, saying: "Colin is a terrific person with a superb character, and he'll be great for the north-east.
"He's dynamic and is a very intelligent player. He's got great skills, and he's a players' player, so he's good at talking to other people. Anyone who trains with him will tell you straightaway how intelligent he is."
Of his new team-mates, Charvis said: "The thing that has really struck me is the attitude in training, and how committed everyone is. I'm getting stuck into some training now with the rest of the guys, and I can't wait for the season to start.
"Having spoken to Rob Andrew before I signed for the Falcons, I was impressed with their philosophy of how they want to play the game - at pace and with the ball in hand.
"Hopefully I can add a bit of experience to the squad, and bring something to help the exciting young players they've got here already."
Commenting on his new signing, Andrew said: "We know what we're getting with Colin - a top player and a current international captain.
"I'm sure he'll be a tremendous success at Newcastle, and the fans should be excited that we've managed to attract a player of his quality."