Newcastle Falcons have moved swiftly to replace Dave Walder with the appointment of Alex Codling as the club’s new head coach. Codling, 49, has been coaching in France in Pro D2 since his brief spell as Eddie Jones’ assistant with England came to an end in 2021.
The former lock, once capped by Clive Woodward in 2002, has helped Oyonnax to the top of the table as part of Joe El-Abd’s coaching staff. Oyonnax have been the standout team in France’s second tier, and they currently hold a 21-point lead with four rounds of the regular season to run.
Codling signed the deal with Newcastle on Tuesday and will start work with the Falcons at the end of this season. Walder stepped back from first-team duties in the middle of March and is currently on gardening leave.
Mark Laycock was handed the reins on an interim basis and celebrated with a win in his first home game in charge, a 17-12 victory against Gloucester. But the Falcons’ attack coach will hand back control once Codling arrives at Kingston Park.
The much-travelled Codling has picked up a wealth of experience in his 15-plus years in coaching with jobs in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and France. This includes roles at all levels of the game – head coach at Ebbw Vale, Barking and, more recently, Ealing Trailfinders; and forwards coach at both Harlequins and England U20s.
Alex Codling has had a much-travelled coaching journey that has seen him pass through many rugby outposts.
— RugbyPass+ (@RugbyPassPlus) March 8, 2023
A renowned lineout specialist, Codling then worked with the senior England team for the summer Tests against USA and Canada in June 2021. He announced he was to leave his contract with Oyonnax a year early some time ago, but it was thought he would remain in France and work in the Top 14.
However, having swapped a rugby-obsessive town for one mad about football, he can now look forward to a completely different cultural experience in the north-east of England.