Gold Linked To Bath

 May 07,2012
Written by: Robert Lemmer

Gary Gold will be back home in Cape Town on Monday - but his Premiership return could be confirmed later this week.

Bath are set to unveil the South African as their new coaching chief, filling the vacancy created by Sir Ian McGeechan's departure.

Former England defence coach Mike Ford is earmarked to join Gold at the Recreation Ground with ex-London Irish prop Neal Hatley completing Bath's new-look coaching team alongside Brad Davis.

Gold, part of South Africa's coaching staff at the World Cup in New Zealand last autumn, has spent the last four months trying to keep Newcastle among English rugby's elite.

He took interim charge of the Falcons in January, tasked with keeping them up, and Newcastle finished the 22-game regular league season bottom by just one point following a 14-10 victory over their fellow strugglers Wasps at the weekend.

Asked about his immediate future, Gold said: "I am going home, and I have some options to consider."

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.

Premiership Rugby and the Rugby Football Union intend to clarify the situation later this month, but it would appear that if Bristol do not win the Championship crown then Newcastle will survive.

Gold will now hand over the reins at Kingston Park to Dean Richards, whose three-year worldwide coaching ban imposed for his part in the Harlequins Bloodgate saga expires this summer.

Ford, who has also been part of Gold's Newcastle coaching team, is expected to join Bath, although Falcons forwards specialist John Wells looks poised for a role as Richards' assistant.

Reflecting on Newcastle's final day agony, Gold said: "It was 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. We had to throw the kitchen sink at it, but we had the belief we could do it.

"I wanted to hand the club over to Dean in a better shape, but I think the players have improved significantly.

"Harlequins, Northampton and Worcester have all improved as clubs due to relegation, and I would expect the same for the Falcons."

If, as expected, Gold lands the Bath top job, he will be entrusted with inspiring an overdue change in fortunes.

Bath's Premiership campaign petered out with a 28-3 defeat at title-chasing Leicester, meaning an eighth-place finish after winning just nine Premiership games.

They also failed to secure Heineken Cup qualification for next term, ending five points adrift of the crucial top six positions filled by Harlequins, Leicester, Saracens, Northampton, Exeter and Sale Sharks.

Bath's multi-millionaire chairman Bruce Craig is anxious for a Recreation Ground revival, and he will fervently hope that Gold can show a Midas touch that almost resulted in Newcastle climbing off the Premiership basement against all odds.

Tags: European |  Bath | 

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