Dave Walder will join Bristol Bears as senior backs and attack skills coach ahead of the 2023/24 season in a massive boost to Pat Lam's backroom staff, the club have confirmed.

Walder, 44, comes in to replace Conor McPhillips at Bristol who is expected to return to his former club Connacht.

The former Newcastle Falcons head coach has established a reputation as one of the brightest young coaches in the game during his time at Kingston Park. Walder, who scored more than 1,000 Premiership points as a player for Wasps and Newcastle, spent four seasons as backs and attack coach at Kingston Park before stepping into the head coach role.

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Walder was put on gardening leave at Falcons in March after a reported falling out with the club's rugby board after number of his best players, including hooker George McGuigan, were allowed to leave the club. Walder stepped up to lead the rugby coaching department a Newcaslte throughout the 22-23 campaign following the departure of director of rugby Dean Richards at the end of last season.

Bears 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.”

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.”