Tait predicts another relegation fight next season

Bath 42 Newcastle 12

Newcastle head coach Alan Tait is already preparing for another tough relegation battle next season after the Falcons survived by the narrowest of margins in the final round of Premiership matches. It was not until several minutes after the whistle blew on this defeat that Tait and his squad learned that Leeds had finished bottom instead and spared them.

"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."

Tait, who revealed that the fly-half Jimmy Gopperth had played with a torn knee cartilage, does not believe it will be much easier next year, adding: "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. But I know where these players are and we need a couple of years to [improve them]."

He added: "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?"

For Bath head coach Steve Meehan, leaving the Recreation Ground by mutual consent, it was just as emotional an afternoon, especially when the capacity crowd welcomed him on to the pitch. "It was a lovely moment. It will stay with me and my family. If you could thank the supporters for that, it was with the rugby that we played," he said.

He thinks the club will improve further after his departure, adding: "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."

Asked if he could envisage a return to the Rec as an opposition coach, Meehan said: "I don't know how soon but I think I'd enjoy it. To come back with another team and to challenge would be pretty interesting."

Tries from Sam Vesty, Ignacio Fernandez Lobbe, Matt Carraro and Matt Banahan gave Bath a 29-0 interval lead. Alex Tait and Luke Fielden hit back for Newcastle but although Jacques Boussuge scored late on, Northampton's win over Leeds saved Newcastle and ended Bath's season as they finished fifth and missed out on the play-offs.

Bath: Tries Vesty, Fernandez Lobbe, Carraro, Banahan, Boussuge. Conversions James 3, Vesty. Penalties James 3.

Newcastle: Tries Tait, Fielden. Conversion Manning

Bath Vesty; Biggs, Carraro, Banahan (Boussuge, 68), Abendanon; James (Williams, 68), Claassens (McMillan, 68); Flatman (Catt, 61), Mears (Dixon, 61), Lilley (Palma-Newport, 20), Fernandez-Lobbe, Grewcock, Skirving (Watson, 52), Moody (Mercer, 68), Taylor.

Newcastle Manning; Fielden, Tu'ipulotu, Fitzpatrick (Eves, 70), A Tait; Gopperth (Bobo, 47), Young (Pilgrim, 61); Golding (Shiels, 55), Thompson (Vickers, 47), Murray (Brookes, 55), Hudson, Van der Heijden (Swinson, 55), M Wilson, Gray, Hogg (Welch, 47).

Referee W Barnes (RFU).

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate