NEWCASTLE Falcons have promoted former back row man Peter Walton to the role of forwards coach and have announced that they are assessing the long-term structure of their coaching set-up.

It has yet to be decided what role New Zealander Ross Nesdale has to play after the former hooker was brought in as forwards coach last season.

While they have been happy to win at Northampton and draw at Leicester, the Falcons have lost all three home matches in this season's Guinness Premiership and are next to the bottom.

The consolation is that there is no pressing threat of relegation because Leeds are eight points adrift and showing no signs of recovery after losing heavily at Bristol on Sunday.

Walton, 36, has managed the academy team since he retired from playing after winning 24 caps for Scotland.

From a Northumberland farming family, he went to school in Scotland and played for Northampton before helping the Falcons to win the Premiership in 1998.

The coaching shake-up comes hot on the heels of Friday night's 23-20 defeat before a capacity crowd of 10,200 at Kingston Park.

Afterwards Director of Rugby Rob Andrew said: "We were mugged by a side who came to do a job on us.

"They had the edge in the tight areas and they were off-side all night.

"We were not going to out-muscle them - we needed the officials to give us the chance to produce quick ball."

Andrew brought in forwards like former Australia Test player Owen Finegan and ex-Marine Andy Perry to toughen up the pack this season. But Finegan looks past his best and Perry is suspended after being sent off at Leicester.

Andrew said yesterday: "The board want time to assess things and look at how we organise the coaching side. We have some very talented coaches but it is clear from the current run of results we are not bringing the best out of the players."