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Walder sacked by Newcastle as exit rumours confirmed

By Ian Cameron
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Newcastle Falcons head coach, Dave Walder, has announced that he will be leaving the club at the end of the 2022-23 campaign, stepping back from his head coach role with immediate effect.

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Walder’s imminent exit confirms rumours that the club were making a move to replace him following a poor season for the Tynesiders.

The 44-year-old took over the coaching department ahead of the current season, following the departure of Dean Richards at the end of the previous campaign.

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While Walder will leave at the end of his contract, Falcons have confirmed thathe will step back with immediate effect, handing over to Mark Laycock until a successor is officially appointed in the coming months.

Speaking on Walder’s departure, Matt Thompson, chairman of rugby, said: “Realistically we haven’t been where we want to be for a few years now and as a club, we recognize the need to make changes to our approach to achieve our goals. Transitional periods like this are never easy, and unfortunately, we are going to lose some people along the way.”

“A lot has happened, particularly this year, both across the sport and on and off the field at the club, and we need a bit of a reset across the board. Our aim is to be a sustainable club that is here for years to come and in line with that, it’s important that we invest in the right areas, in the right way at the right time.”

Thompson also mentioned the club’s ongoing recruitment strategy, which includes re-signing a number of players and new faces to the team, as well as recruiting on and off the field into the rugby department, including across the coaching team. Newcastle Falcons is working to finalize the structure of the coaching team for the 2023-24 season, and further announcements will be made once the interview process has concluded.

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“As with all departures, it’s been a tough decision, but ultimately the right one for the club as we move forward. We wish him all the best in the future and look forward to seeing what he does next,” Thompson added. Walder made 110 appearances for the Falcons as a player, scoring the winning try in the 2001 Tetley’s Bitter Cup final, and forming an instrumental part of the side which won the 2004 Powergen Cup final.

He went on to earn domestic and European honors with Wasps before finishing his playing career with Japanese side Mitsubishi Dynaboars, joining Newcastle’s coaching staff in 2014. Initially serving as kicking skills coach, he was later promoted to head coach in 2017, earning promotion from the Championship and helping steer the Falcons to their first Gallagher Premiership semi-final.

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