Gary Gold becomes rugby director at Newcastle

 

Newcastle have appointed South African Gary Gold as their rugby director for the rest of this season.

And former England defence coach Mike Ford will join Gold by filling the defence role at Kingston Park, Newcastle owner Semore Kurdi announced on the club's official website.

The club say head coach Alan Tait has "taken a break from rugby". Newcastle currently prop up the Aviva Premiership table, nine points adrift of 11th-placed Wasps.

Forwards coach Paul Moriarty will take charge for Sunday's Amlin Challenge Cup home game against Italian side Petrarca, Kurdi confirmed.

Gold, whose previous Premiership coaching experience includes a spell at London Irish, has been assistant coach of the South African national team for the past four years.

Ford, meanwhile, joined the England set-up in 2008, but he recently departed Twickenham following a dismal World Cup campaign that also ended in manager Martin Johnson and assistant coaches John Wells and Brian Smith leaving.

Newcastle, Premiership champions in 1998, are red-hot favourites to be relegated this season, having won just two of their 13 league games, drawn one and lost 10.

Although Tait is effectively on gardening leave, the rest of Falcons' existing coaching staff will continue to support Gold and Ford.

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 Premiership status."

Newcastle say Gold decided to join the Falcons ahead of "a number of other exciting job offers".

Gold was previously assistant coach and then head coach during a three-season stint with Irish before joining Cape Town-based Super Rugby franchise the Stormers as technical director, and then filling the head coach's role at Western Province.

He joined the Springboks as forwards specialist in 2008 under head coach Peter de Villiers, working at last autumn's World Cup and in a memorable 2009 Test series against the British and Irish Lions that South Africa won 2-1.

Gold said: "This is an exciting challenge, and I am delighted to have the opportunity to work in the Aviva Premiership.

"Newcastle Falcons is a big club with big ambition 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."

Oldham-born former rugby league player Ford was head coach at Saracens before moving to the England fold.

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.

PA

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