Wasps 10-14 Newcastle, Aviva Premiership
Pride and disappointment for departing Gold
May 5, 2012
Wasps boss Dai Young reflects on his side's survival
Gary Gold admitted he had "very mixed emotions" after his Newcastle team were left facing Aviva Premiership relegation despite beating Wasps at Adams Park.
The Falcons finished bottom by a point following a 22-game regular league campaign that saw them win just six matches, including their 14-10 success against Wasps. Newcastle's fate now rests on the outcome of this season's second-tier Championship title race, which will not be concluded until May 30.
Bristol, London Welsh, Bedford and Cornish Pirates are all contesting silverware, although it is thought only Bristol of that quartet categorically meet Premiership entry criteria. Gold, who took interim charge of Newcastle in January and will now hand over the reins to Dean Richards, said: "It is a very emotional day, and the consequences are very upsetting.
"We were fighting for our lives. At 10-0 down there was perhaps a reason to give up, but the players didn't. They are a great bunch of guys who were up for the fight. My goal when I came to Newcastle was to keep them in the Premiership. I couldn't control the consequences today.
"The smart money will be on Richards inheriting a squad destined to play Championship rugby."
That will not, though, be an unfamiliar experience for the former England No.8, whose three-year worldwide coaching ban imposed following the infamous Bloodgate saga expires this summer. Richards led Harlequins back into English rugby's top flight at the first time of asking in 2006, and Newcastle should encounter few problems making a rapid return.
But that prospect will not ease the pain for Gold and his players, who are now set to go their separate ways. South African Gold is poised to succeed Sir Ian McGeechan at Bath, heading up a coaching team that could also include former England defence coach Mike Ford and ex-London Irish prop Neal Hatley.
Departing Falcons coach Gary Gold heaps praise on his side
Asked about his immediate future, Gold added: "I am going home [to South Africa] tomorrow, and I have some options to consider. We had to throw the kitchen sink at it today, but we had the belief we could do it.
"I wanted to hand the club over in a better state, and I think the players have improved significantly."
For their part, cash-strapped Wasps have secured Premiership status for next term, and they also hope that a takeover of the club will be completed by late May.
"I am confident the deal will be concluded," Wasps chairman Mark Rigby said after today's game. "Terms have been agreed, solicitors have been instructed and we have entered a period of exclusivity.
"We are not prepared to identify the consortium because we are bound by a non-disclosure brief. While it is a hollow feeling to secure our Premiership status with a defeat, it means we will have top-flight rugby in Wycombe next season."
Despite wing Christian Wade scoring his ninth Premiership try of the season, Newcastle claimed their second successive league away win through second-half touchdowns by James Fitzpatrick and Peter Stringer.
Wasps rugby director David Young said: "It is a little bit of a funny feeling, but we have done our job in terms of staying in the Premiership.
"The season, especially since October, has been hugely difficult, and I don't want to go through another one like it. It has been very draining. But things are looking far more positive - the future is looking brighter."
© ESPN EMEA Ltd
"If there was a cross breed of canine called an Underdogdoodle it would win best in show at Crufts." Mark Durden-Smith looks at the Aviva Premiership Final
With the Lions' tour to Australia fast-approaching, ESPN's Austin Healey and Mark Durden-Smith sat down to share their memories of the 2001 trip Down Under
Ask John answers questions on the Leopards' tour to Italy in 1974, brotherly Test sides, Pat McGrath, England's games against the Barbarians and Jacques Brunel
"We were only five metres away in the last Test of getting that try and with Jonny's inevitable conversion, we'd have won it." Tom Hamilton talks to Lions fullback Matt Perry