Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

MacRae Chosen to Sharpen Up Skills Base at Kingston Park; RUGBY UNION

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

MacRae Chosen to Sharpen Up Skills Base at Kingston Park; RUGBY UNION

Article excerpt

NEWCASTLE Falcons have completed their management team for the new Premiership campaign with the appointment of Calum MacRae as skills coach, writes MARK SMITH.

The 31-year-old has been drafted in to help the Falcons find their scoring touch after crossing the try-line just 27 times in 22 games last season - the lowest total of all 12 top-flight clubs.

The former Scotland A international joins head coach Alan Tait and assistant coach Paul Moriarty in the Kingston Park backroom, with Micky Ward also retained as front-row coach.

Greeting the arrival of his countryman, Tait said: "Calum has come here as skills coach, and he is spending a lot of time sharpening the lads up on that aspect of their game.

"It's a part-time role, and he will be on hand 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."

Explaining the need to bring in the former Borders and Edinburgh three-quarter, he added: "It is something that the 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.

"I spoke to Calum a while ago about the possibility of doing something with us, and he came back to me with some really good ideas. So far it is working well. He is picking up individuals and working with them, and also taking groups to work on their skill base and handling.

"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."

The Falcons' preseason preparations are already in full swing, with the majority of Tait's overseas signings having now landed in the North East.

New South Wales threequarter Ryan Shortland arrived on Tuesday, with Auckland centre Jamie Helleur having touched down yesterday. …

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