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Latu confirms Japan plans after Falcons departure

Nili Latu has confirmed he will be leaving Newcastle Falcons at the end of the season and returning to Japan.

Tonga international Latu left Japanese outfit NEC Green Rockets in 2015 to join the Falcons and he has become a firm fans' favourite over the three years that have followed.

When first arriving in the north east, Newcastle were in a spot of bother, regularly battling against relegation, but, on the eve of his departure, the club are in a much better state.

Dean Richards' men finished fourth in the Premiership this season, their highest finish in two decades, earning them a first ever semi-final place, where they will take on regular season winners Exeter.

Back-rower Latu, 36, is bringing his time at Kingston Park to an end but he has thanked everyone for the incredible three years he has spent at the club.

"I'd like to thank every single one of the Falcons supporters for the love they have shown me and my family since we arrived in 2015," he told the club's official website. "I've enjoyed every single moment of my time in Newcastle and it will be sad to leave.

"The club was involved in a bit of a struggle when I first joined but we have shown a steady improvement, and it gives me a certain happiness to know I'm leaving it in a better place than when I arrived."

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