Dave Walder has stepped down as the director of rugby at Newcastle Falcons with immediate effect - having only taken the job from Dean Richards last summer.

Newcastle were in a reasonably healthy place in the Gallagher Premiership heading into 2023 and kicked off the new year with a hugely impressive 45-26 over defending champions Leicester Tigers. 

However, four straight domestic defeats, along with elimination from the Challenge Cup, have created a more gloomy atmosphere around Kingston Park. 

While Walder will leave in the summer at the end of his contracted period, Mark Laycock, who had already been part of the Falcons' coaching set-up, will take the helm ahead of the visit of Gloucester next Friday. 

Walder represented Newcastle as a player and was part of the side that won the 2004 Powergen Cup, before joining the club's coaching staff 10 years later, fulfilling several roles including head coach and backs and attack coach. 


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Speaking about Walder's departure, Matt Thompson, chairman of rugby for Newcastle Falcons, said: "Realistically we haven't been where we want to be for a few years now and as a club we recognise 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.

"We're immensely grateful for everything Dave has helped us to achieve. He's been a massive part of our club for many years and 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."