Tait: Falcons will continue to toil
May 7, 2011
Bath centre Matt Banahan tormented the Newcastle defence at the Rec © Getty Images
Newcastle head coach Alan Tait has predicted that they will struggle again next season after they narrowly avoided the drop from the Aviva Premiership.
Newcastle were routed 42-12 by Bath in their final game of the season but stayed up on points difference after it was confirmed that basement boys Leeds had been beaten 31-24 by Northampton Saints at Franklin's Gardens.
"They were five minutes behind us so we just decided as a group to wait out there on the pitch for the results," Tait said. "We got the word from the team manager - or rather his missus, who was having kittens at the other end of the phone."
However, despite his obvious relief at having beaten the drop, Tait does not expect Newcastle to have it any easier next year without serious investment in the playing squad. He also argued that the issue of relegation needs to be looked at.
"I think we will go through it again next season. If I say my goal is to survive in the Premiership they'll say I'm negative," he said. "But I know where these players are and we need a couple of years to get them there. The best way is to get a couple of quality players to play alongside them.
"We know we're up against it every single week. I have to ask them every week to lift themselves against gigantic teams like Northampton and Leicester, even Bath. I just saw tired bodies out there in the first half. Last week it was nerves. This week it was fatigue. I can't fault them for effort but we were put to the sword by a Bath team who themselves have a few injuries.
"I feel for Leeds, I do. We need to look at the relegation issue. What's it all for? It was exciting but what does it achieve?"
Meanwhile, outgoing Bath head coach Steve Meehan was almost overcome with emotion after receiving a terrific send-off from the Recreation Ground.
"It was a lovely moment, really appreciated," he said. "It will stay with me and my family. I suppose if you could thank the supporters for that, it was with the rugby that we played. It wasn't expected. It was a surprise."
Meehan also tipped his side as future Premiership champions, revealing: "I said to the players that it won't be long before they are travelling back along the M4 with the Premiership trophy. The club is in a good position to capitalise on a lot of good work done with the youngsters in recent seasons."
Although his time with Bath has come to an end, Meehan did not rule out the possibility of returning to the Rec as an opposition coach at some point in the future.
"I don't know how soon but I think I'd enjoy it," he said. "I have a lot of great memories to take away and it's been a great pleasure to work with the players. To come back with another team and to challenge would be pretty interesting."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The Scotland coach enters his first Six Nations with at least one familiar face to look to for inspiration - Joe Schmidt. He chats to Tom Hamilton
Italy coach Jacques Brunel spoke to ESPN ahead of his final season as Italy coach and tells of his desire to experiment and evolve
"There's no bull with me, I just tell it straight." Tom Hamilton talks to Warren Gatland in an exclusive interview
With the retirement of Adam Jones, Welsh rugby says goodbye to a great player and one of its biggest personalities too, writes Tom Hamilton