Falcons coach Alan Tait safe despite a poor season

NEWCASTLE Falcons will not be sacking head coach Alan Tait, despite the club's worst ever Aviva Premiership season.

Alan Tait
Alan Tait

NEWCASTLE Falcons will not be sacking head coach Alan Tait, despite the club's worst ever Aviva Premiership season.

The Journal can reveal Tait and assistant coach Paul Moriarty will be kept in their current roles, with the club also looking at the possibility of bringing in additional outside help to bolster the management team.

Front-row coach Micky Ward is expected to continue on a part-time basis despite his playing contract having come to an end, with head of strength and conditioning Andy Smith also remaining in place.

Falcons' chairman Dave Thompson confirmed: “I have no thoughts whatsoever of changing the head coach or assistant coach – and it would be crazy to do so.

“We always knew what we were getting with Alan and Paul, and it is very much a long-term project.

“Alan is learning all the time, and he will have the chance now to shape a squad based on the players he wants to have at the club.”

Tait’s sole season in charge saw just four league wins from 22 games, with Newcastle only hanging on to their top-flight status on points difference courtesy of Northampton’s comeback win over Leeds on Saturday.

Thompson added: “When Alan took over last May the bulk of the players for this season had already been signed by Steve Bates.

“Alan will now have the chance to put his own stamp on the squad he wants.

“We are in discussions about looking for additional coaching resources, but that would be very much in conjunction with Alan and Paul and adding to what we already have in place.

“The key thing is to get our player recruitment nailed down, and now we are secure in the Premiership we can really push on with that.” Tait reinforced his desire to hold on for a second season, stating: “I am still keen to keep going.

“I love the club and I am passionate about making it a success, but I am going to sit down and look at my own performance.

“I was not thrown in there – I accepted the job and I have tried to build a staff around me.

“In the cold light of day I need to look at how I have performed in the role, and how the people around me have done.

“The players do as well, and we will move on as a club.”

Much attention will now be turned to the Falcons’ summer recruitment plans, with Tait making no bones about the fact more experience and quality is required to avoid another relegation-threatened campaign.

Samoa centre Jamie Helleur, North Harbour flanker Richard Mayhew, New South Wales three-quarter Ryan Shortland, Gloucester scrum-half Jordi Pasqualin, Bradford Bulls wing Rikki Sheriffe and Doncaster prop Dan Frazier are already signed up, but the head coach knows more are needed.

Tait added: “There is no doubt about it – we need two or three real quality players in.

“If we don’t get them then the reality is we will probably be going through the same thing again this time next season – because that is where we are as a squad.

“If the club want me to crack on as I am doing, though, then I will do it, and I will work with these players again.”

In typically honest fashion, Tait added: “If I said at the start of this season my goal was to stay in the Premiership, people would probably say I was being negative and not having ambition.

“However, I have been there as a player and I know what it takes.”

 

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