Gold demands courage from Falcons
March 23, 2012
Newcastle's Tim Swinson feels the weight of defeat © Getty Images
Newcastle rugby director Gary Gold admitted there was "nowhere to hide" for his team after they suffered another crushing setback in their fight for Aviva Premiership survival.
Falcons' 19-9 defeat against Worcester at Sixways means they remain eight points adrift at the Premiership basement with just four league games left.
Fly-half Jimmy Gopperth kicked three penalties for the visitors, which was enough to secure a 9-6 advantage approaching the hour mark, but Worcester centre Alex Grove then rounded off a spell of sustained pressure and Falcons were finished. And Worcester even denied them the consolation of a losing bonus point when Andy Goode slotted his fourth successful penalty with barely a minute remaining.
"We are going to have to front-up and be courageous now," Gold said. "We have four games to go and there is nowhere to hide. I knew what the task was when I came here, and I am completely up for the fight. A lot of aspects of our game were good, but it wasn't to be. I am unbelievably disappointed, absolutely gutted. It is devastating to leave here without even a bonus point."
Eleventh-placed Wasps, who host Newcastle on the regular league season's final day in early May, are not expected to gain anything from their trip to title play-off contenders Northampton tomorrow. But Newcastle's latest defeat - their 13th from 18 Premiership starts this term - has upped the ante for remaining fixtures at home to Sale Sharks and Saracens and away against Gloucester and Wasps.
South African Gold, who will make way for Dean Richards next season, added: "One try was the difference. No defence can allow for missed tackles, and we missed one on our line for their try. Our lineout was a shambles tonight, and we can't accept that. We coughed up too much ball, and we have got to sort that out."
Worcester head coach Richard Hill believes Newcastle can still avoid the drop, though, especially given Wasps' tough run-in that finishes with a home game against the Falcons on May 5.
"They gave us a tough old battle tonight," Hill said. "I feel for them. Andy Goode's late penalty was a hammer-blow, but I still think there is a chink of light for them. We had to change tactics at half-time. We went into the match with a strategy of trying to play Newcastle at their own game, but that didn't work.
"We also needed to relax. I felt we were very edgy, but I hope the players can relax a little now after this win."
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