Ball In Touch: Our rugby columnist Jeff Ball discusses the news that Dean Richards is to take over the Director of Rugby post at Newcastle Falcons from next season. Let us know what you think of the appointment either in the comments below or on Twitter to @BallInTouch It was today confirmed that ex-Harlequins and Leicester coach Dean Richards would be taking the top job at Newcastle Falcons for next season. The ex-England international is coming to the end of his three year ban following his part in the Bloodgate scandal and will be available to take up his new post from August 19th. Current Falcons coach Gary Gold was brought in by Chairman Semore Kurdi on a short term contract until the end of the season and charged with keeping the Falcons in the Aviva Premiership. With 5 games to go and 8 points behind London Wasps, the game at Adams Park on May 5th seems likely to be a winner takes all if results go as expected in the next few rounds. The signing of Dean Richards represents a massive coup for the Falcons, Richards being one of the best coaches in the country. Having won the league several times with Leicester Tigers, along with back-to-back Heineken Cup victories (the only coach to have ever done so), he comes with a good pedigree. His time at Harlequins was cut short by the blood capsule saga that so tarnished his reputation. But he has served his time with remorse and is ready to pick up where he left off. Until that episode his name was being bandied around as a potential England head coach in the future, a testament to the development of Harlequins, whom he took out of the Championship following relegation and into the Heineken Cup. With Harlequins currently top of the Aviva Premiership, the foundations he set in his time there have been built on by the current set up and are at last reaping the rewards Richards had planned for his side. Ever since Gary Gold took over at the Falcons there has been a wave of optimism around Kingston Park. The inclusion of ex-England coaches John Wells, who Dean Richards worked with at Leicester, and Mike Ford to the coaching staff strengthened that and there is a genuine belief in the North East that the Falcons can complete the Great Escape once again. Semore Kurdi has thrown a lot of money at the Falcons since he took ownership from Dave Thompson and the changes around Kingston Park are clear to see. A new state-of-the-art physio suite along with improvements to other off-field areas have been a long time coming. Now all the Falcons need is for that development off the field to be replicated on it. Along with the capture on a two month loan on hugely experienced Irish scrum-half Peter Stringer from Munster and an early bird price freeze on season tickets, it is turning into a good week for Falcons fans. With further rumours of a new kit supplier (Orion one name being mentioned) and a rebranding (dropping Newcastle from Newcastle Falcons) also floating around the internet, regardless of which league the Falcons are in next season, the next few years promises to be very interesting for the Geordie Nation.