Former Newcastle Falcons head coach is back in employment

Former Newcastle Falcons head coach Dave Walder will join Bristol Bears as senior backs and attack skills coach from next season.

Walder was placed on gardening leave by the Falcons before the end of the current season after a disappointing run of results but will fill the void left at Ashton Gate by the departure of current attack and backs coach Conor McPhillips, whose departure after six seasons was confirmed earlier this week.

Walder played with Pat Lam at Newcastle and held the role of backs and attack coach in the North East for four years before he was promoted to the top job after Dean Richards stepped back before the start of the 2022-23 season.

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Bristol’s director of rugby, Pat Lam, said: “With Conor moving on at the end of the season, we’re delighted to be able to bring someone of Dave’s calibre into the coaching team.

“He is an exceptional coach who has already amassed a huge amount of experience and respect in the Premiership, both as a backs and attack coach and more recently, a head coach at Newcastle Falcons.

“He has an excellent understanding of the game, a great rapport with the players and I believe he will add huge value to the Bears on and off the field.”

Dave Walder on joining Bristol Bears

Walder added: “I’m hugely excited by this opportunity and can’t wait to get started with the Bears. I know how ambitious this club is and look forward to contributing to the vision and long-term success at Ashton Gate.

“Knowing Pat well from my playing days at Newcastle, I’m looking forward to working with him and the rest of the coaching staff at the club. It’s a talented group of players with a world-class training facility, so I’m relishing the challenges ahead.”

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