Franck Montanella: Newcastle Falcons sign France prop

Newcastle Falcons have signed French prop Franck Montanella, strengthening their front-row options ahead of their return to the Aviva Premiership.

The 31-year-old, who spent last season with relegated London Welsh, has signed a two-year contract at Kingston Park.

"Newcastle have a great reputation in the game and I can't wait to join up with my new team-mates," Montanella told the club website. 

"I'm delighted to be back playing in the Premiership," he added.

Loose-head prop Montanella, who has also played for Stade Francais in his home country, won his only cap for France during their summer tour of New Zealand in 2007.

Dean Richards, Newcastle's director of rugby, said: "Franck is the type of player I've been looking for to really strengthen our front row.

"He's a solid scrummager and he brings a lot of experience to the club, having played in the French leagues where it can be a hostile environment for props to play their rugby."

The Falcons, who secured an immediate return to the top flight in May, host Bath in their first match of the 2013-14 season on 6 September.