FORMER England forwards specialist John Wells will step up to the role of head coach with club Newcastle Falcons next season.

The Falcons have confirmed their coaching staff, which also sees a new role for ex-Newcastle flyhalf Dave Walder.

He has been appointed as attack coach, with Wells, who was already part of rugby director Dean Richards’ coaching team, now taking on the job vacated by Peter Russell’s return to New Zealand.

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Richards has also retained defence coach Graham Steadman, scrum coach Micky Ward and skills coach Calum MacRae.

Wells, 51, joined Newcastle in early 2012. He was previously head coach at Leicester, while he also spent a number of seasons as part of England’s coaching set-up.

“In the last two seasons, Dean and Peter have done a tremendous job of getting Newcastle out of the RFU Championship and ensuring the club secures its Aviva Premiership status,” Wells said.

“Dave has also come on board, and he brings new ideas and a real passion for the club.

“He complements the strengths of the existing coaching team, and together with the experience the squad has gained this season, allied to some quality signings, we intend to be extremely competitive next term.”

And Richards added: “I am delighted to have confirmed the coaching team for next season.

“After a tough first season back in the Aviva Premiership, everyone is ready to take this club to the next level.’’