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).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence