Newcastle Falcons have bolstered their staff ahead of the new season with the arrival of strength and conditioning coaches Lewis Williams and Tim Payne.
Williams arrives from Super League rugby league club Wakefield Wildcats while former England international Payne joins from London Scottish. Both men are already in place working under head of athletic performance, Kevin McShane.
McShane said: “Lewis and Tim will bring great balance to our strength and conditioning team and a superb range of expertise.
“Lewis has been in top-level rugby league with Wakefield for the past four seasons, he brings a different skill set to what we have got and it is great to have him on board. Rugby league is a slightly different environment to rugby union, he brings a real hard edge and complements the work we were already doing.”
Williams is joined at Kingston Park Stadium by Payne, the 22-times-capped England prop who won a Heineken Cup and two Premiership titles during his successful spell at Wasps. The 37-year-old played more than 250 games for the club as well as being called up by the British and Irish Lions in 2009, retiring from playing in 2013 before joining London Scottish’s coaching staff last year.
McShane said: “Tim offers us something a little different in terms of his extensive playing background. That commands an instant respect from the players, he is finishing off his masters degree in strength and conditioning and on the player-relation side of things he will be a great guy to call on.
“He has been there and done it at the very top level, that brings with it a kudos and a knowledge base and across the strength and conditioning team we now have a great range of expertise from which to draw.”
Director of rugby Dean Richards said: “Strength and conditioning is such an important part of the game now and both Lewis and Tim, working under Kevin, will ensure our players are in the best possible condition to tackle the coming season.
“Everyone knows Tim’s achievements as a player, and that knowledge, coupled with his strength and conditioning background, will make him a valuable asset. Lewis offers us something different on the back of his vast experience in rugby league, both have settled in well and the players are already benefiting from what they bring to our set-up.”