Aviva Premiership

Newcastle Falcons chief Alan Tait has bolstered his backroom staff with the addition of talented skills coach, Calum MacRae.

MacRae, 31, from Edinburgh joins the Falcons on the back of a distinguished playing career, having plied his trade in the Celtic league for the Borders. The former utility back went on to enjoy stints with Edinburgh and Worcester before taking the plunge as a coach. A qualified PE teacher, MacRae coached at Italian Super 10 side Venezia, and now moves to Kingston Park just as pre-season training heats up. “I’m really happy to have the opportunity to work here,” said a delighted MacRae.

“I have spent a lot of time going through every Falcons Aviva Premiership game of last season to see how we can improve our game in the backs. I have spotted a few things and I am looking forward to working with the backs this season and most of all improving their game sense,” he added.

And MacRae admits he was struck by the club’s ambition the moment he walked through the doors at Kingston Park. He said: “There’s a lot of history at this club and I am proud to follow a long line of Scots who have worked at the Falcons. It is an exciting time and I can sense the ambition that the guys at the top have for the future of this club.”

MacRae was part of the Scotland training squad for a four year period which included call ups for autumn tests in 2006 and for the 2008 Six Nations Championship. Head coach Tait believes MacRae is a good acquisition, saying: “It is something that the senior players have talked about, and when we spoke with them at the end of last season they felt it was an area where we could make some gains. We are always looking to improve, so we took that on board and put an extra skills guy in there who is already making a difference.”

Tait revealed that he was keen to get MacRae on board for the new campaign adding: “I spoke to Calum before the end of last season about the possibility of doing something with us, and he came back to me with some really good ideas. So far it is working really well. He is picking up individuals and working with them, and also taking groups to work on their skill base.

“Those little bits really make a difference. The players are dead keen to learn, and many of them have been coming in on their day off to put in extra work with him. “It’s a part-time role, and he will come down from the Borders two or three days a week to work with the first team squad as well as doing some additional training with the academy lads and younger players.”