sport

Wells named Newcastle coach

Newcastle have confirmed their coaching team for next season, with John Wells stepping up to take the role of head coach.

Former Leicester head coach Wells, 51, joined Newcastle in February 2012 and was part of the team that helped the Falcons achieve promotion back to the Premiership in 2013.

Ex-Newcastle and England fly-half Dave Walder will assist Wells as attack coach at the club, who have also retained the services of defence coach Graham Steadman, scrum coach Micky Ward and skills coach Calum MacRae.

The team will operate under director of rugby Dean Richards.

"In the last two seasons Dean and Peter have done a tremendous job of getting Newcastle out of the RFU Championship and ensuring the club secures its Aviva Premiership status," said Wells.

"Dave has also come on board and he brings new ideas and a real passion for the club.

"He complements the strengths of the existing coaching team, and together with the experience the squad has gained this season, allied to some quality signings, we intend to be extremely competitive next term."

Wells enjoyed success during his time as Leicester head coach, leading them to the Premiership final and the Heineken Cup semi-finals in his first season in 2005.

A year later, he joined the England setup as forwards coach and helped them reach the 2007 World Cup final and win the Six Nations in 2011.

Walder, 36, had been working at Newcastle on a part-time basis as kicking coach but now steps up to a permanent role at the club at which made over 100 appearances between 1999 and 2006.

"I'm really excited at the prospect of working with Dean Richards and John Wells at a club I'm extremely passionate about," said Walder.

"It's great to be back in the North East, an area I love, and I can't wait to get stuck into pre-season," he added.

Newcastle director of rugby Richards said: "I'm delighted to have confirmed the coaching team for next season, and after a tough first season back in the Aviva Premiership everyone is ready to take this club to the next level with this group of players."