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Aviva Premiership
Gold and Ford take charge of Falcons
ESPNscrum Staff
January 12, 2012
Springboks assistant coach Gary Gold, South Africa press conference, Wellington, New Zealand, October 7, 2011
Former South Africa assistant coach Gary Gold will take charge of the Falcons until the end of the season © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Mike Ford | Alan Tait
Tournaments/Tours: Aviva Premiership

Newcastle Falcons have appointed former South Africa assistant coach Gary Gold as director of rugby for the rest of this season with current boss Alan Tait granted "a break from rugby".

Gold is set to be joined by former England defence coach Mike Ford in a new-look coaching team charged with rescuing the Aviva Premiership strugglers' season. Forwards coach Paul Moriarty will take charge of this Sunday's Amlin Challenge Cup match at home to Petrarca Padova and will continue to work alongside Gold and Ford as the club look to breathe life into their season.

Gold, who began his coaching career in 2001 as assistant coach at London Irish before being promoted to the position of head coach the following year. After three seasons at Irish, Gold moved to The Stormers as technical director prior to a switch to Western Province as head coach.

He heads to Kingston Park having spent the past four years as part of the Springboks' coaching team - most recently at the 2011 Rugby World Cup. Working under head coach Peter de Villiers, Gold helped steer the Boks to a series victory over the British & Irish Lions and the Tri-Nations title in 2009.

"This is an exciting challenge and I am delighted to have the opportunity to work in the Aviva Premiership," said Gold. "Newcastle Falcons is a big club with big ambitions and an owner who is very determined so anything is possible. "I know a lot about the players and the traditions of the club so I am really looking forward to the challenge of keeping top-flight rugby in the North East.

Ford arrives on Tyneside after five years as England defence coach which included two World Cups and the British & Irish Lions tour of New Zealand in 2005. Ford worked under Brian Ashton during the 2007 World Cup campaign in France which saw England go all the way to the final only to be defeated by South Africa, and was part of Martin Johnson's set-up during the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand.

The Oldham-born former rugby league player and coach was head coach at Saracens prior to his move to the England fold in May 2006 and has most recently been working with RFU Championship side Leeds as a consultant.

Falcons owner Semore Kurdi said: "I would like to welcome Gary and Mike to the club. They will be a great asset alongside the existing coaching team and this is a demonstration of our intent to fight back and secure our Aviva Premiership status."

Tait, meanwhile, said immediately after last weekend's home defeat against Exeter that he would mull over his future. "It's going to be tough old battle now and we have to be realistic," he told reporters. "I have to look at myself as well, and I will do that and I will have a talk with the owner.

"I' will reflect on things and on my performances over the next few days. I had a dream and vision for this club, and it hasn't quite worked, and I have to speak to the owner and see what happens. The knives will be out for me, and quite rightly so. Maybe I am writing myself off, but it's hard not to do so after a result like that, and things like that can cost you your job."

Five of Newcastle's remaining nine league games are away from home, including trips to Leicester, Gloucester and Bath, while their Kingston Park fixtures feature appointments with current top two Harlequins and Saracens.

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