Newcastle Falcons’ academy head coach James Ponton will be Northumberland’s head coach for the 2016 Bill Beaumont County Championship.
Ponton, whose playing career included Premiership rugby with both West Hartlepool and Leeds Tykes, will be assisted by Darren Cunningham, formerly coach at Morpeth, Jedforest, Kelso and most recently Antwerp.
Both are highly qualified coaches and fully committed to the opportunity county rugby offers as an aspirational pathway, running in parallel to the professional game in England.
Ponton is already working with worked with Drew Robertson, the County’s developing player and coach pathway manager, whose role in overseeing representative coaching is key to the future of so many young male and female players with ambitions and talent beyond club or school rugby.
Robertson said: “In James we have an outstanding coach with a wealth of knowledge from both club and professional rugby, who is a real advocate of the county game. It is a brilliant appointment."
Further details of the coaching and management squad supporting the new team will be finalised shortly, but are already known to include experienced forwards coach Dave Guthrie, another tireless servant of Northumberland rugby at club and representative levels.
The first match of this year's campaign is against East Midlands at 3pm, Saturday May 7 at Morpeth RFC. Full detail of the senior programme this year can be found by clicking here