Newcastle Falcons confirm Peter Russell as head coach

Newcastle Falcons have confirmed the appointment of New Zealander Peter Russell as head coach.

Russell, formerly coach of Hawke's Bay  in Napier, will work under the club's new director of rugby Dean Richards.

The former Wellington player, 48, is known for coaching an expansive and attacking style of rugby.

He told the club website:  "Improving the Falcons position is the aim and with good things in place and some good people around me we can achieve that."

With additional experience as assistant coach to the Highlanders Super 15 side, as well as New Zealand's Under-20 and Divisional XVs, Russell is seen as a key addition to the Falcons backroom staff.

The club may find out next week whether they will play in the Premiership again next season.

Championship winners London Welsh are appealing against their exclusion from the top-flight and the hearing will take place in London on 21 June.

Meanwhile, Newcastle flanker Taiasina Tu'ifua has been suspended for four weeks after being cited for a dangerous tackle in the match against Wasps on May 5.

The suspension runs from June 1 to June 28 and the Samoa international forward, who pleaded guilty to the charge, is free to play on June 29.