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'We will welcome NZ as we know how in the North East'

Darlington Mowden Park Arena & Event Manager Danny Brown, who helped put together Darlington's application for the team base, has said Mowden is now the biggest rugby venue outside of Twickenham:

Jonny Wilkinson plays last ever professional game

One of England's greatest ever players, Jonny Wilkinson, is due to retire from professional rugby union as the 2013-14 season ends today.

Jonny Wilkinson lines up a penalty for the British and Irish Lions in 2005 Credit: David Jones/PA Archive

Wilkinson started as a teenager with Newcastle School of Rugby and rose through the ranks to win the World Cup with England in 2003, scoring the winning goal in the last minute of extra time against Australia in the final.

His final match for Toulon in the Top 14 final against Castres takes place tonight in Paris.

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Jonny Wilkinson wants 6,000 Rugby World Cup volunteers

Charging ahead: Jonny Wilkinson wants 6,000 volunteers for the Rugby World Cup. Credit: PA

Jonny Wilkinson has backed a campaign to get 6,000 volunteers for the 2015 Rugby World Cup, which will be held in England.

The former England fly-half said that the volunteers would be "so important" to the running of the competition. He added that the experience would be a a "privilege" and a "bonus".

The scheme hopes to build on the Games Makers that were used so effectively in the London 2012 Olympics.

England 2015 will be held in just 581 days.

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Will Welch remains as Falcons captain

Will Welch remains as captain Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Newcastle Falcons academy product Will Welch has been named as the captain for a second season in a row.

After helping guide the team to the Championship title last season Dean Richards has handed the captaincy to the 23 year old for the team's return to the Aviva Premiership.

Welch, a former RGS pupil, is entering his fifth season with the club having just signed a two year contract extension.

He'll lead the Falcons out for the start of the new season on Friday 6th September against Bath.

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