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Confirmed: Newcastle name new boss as Dean Richards steps down

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

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Newcastle have confirmed that Dean Richards will step down as director of rugby at the end of the current season, with head coach Dave Walder taking charge of rugby matters at the Falcons. The change had been signposted last month when the long-serving DoR admitted at a media briefing that he was in negotiations with chairman Semore Kurdi about an alternative role at the Gallagher Premiership club. 

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Those negotiations have now successfully concluded and a Newcastle statement late on Friday afternoon read: “After 25 years as a director of rugby, the last ten of those at Newcastle, Richards has taken the decision to step aside, although his vast experience will still be utilised in a new part-time consultancy role.

“Former England fly-half Walder, a two-time cup winner with the Falcons as a player, will take overall charge, with current coaches Mark Laycock, Micky Ward and Scott MacLeod all remaining on the staff, and Mark Wilson also expected to become a member of the coaching team.

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“Defence coach Nick Easter and kicking skills coach Toby Flood will both leave their positions in the summer. Newcastle Falcons would like to thank Nick and Toby for their contribution and wish them well for the future.”

It was April 19 when Richards admitted that he would be making a switch at the end of the 2021/22 season, the 58-year-old explaining at the time: “At the moment I’m talking to Semore about it,” said Newcastle boss Richards during his weekly media briefing. 

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“I have been doing it [the director of rugby position] for 25 years or so and it’s been a long haul, to be honest. At the same time, I’m still keen as mustard and still enjoy the sport and the match days more than anything. The role of director of rugby varies from one club to another. I have always done the contract negotiations, so I have never taken any baggage like that on the field. That is one of the reasons I don’t go onto the field is that I do all that side of things.

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“I do employ a number of very good coaches to deliver a format and they deliver it well. I trust them to do that. That is the way I have always worked. I have noticed over the last couple of years that there is far more work being put into clubs’ recruitment and they are going out and reaching areas that have been untouched before. Other clubs are looking at things in a slightly different way, bringing in the odd hidden gem from here and there. People are adopting a different route to recruitment.”

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