NEW director of rugby Gary Gold will start work at Newcastle Falcons on Tuesday following yesterday’s removal of head coach Alan Tait.
Gold, the South African national team assistant coach, will be joined by Mike Ford in a new-look coaching team until at least the end of the current season.
Tait was yesterday placed on gardening leave by owner Semore Kurdi, but a return to Kingston Park for the Scot seems inconceivable as his side sit nine points adrift at the bottom of the Aviva Premiership with nine games left to go.
Assistant coach Paul Moriarty remains on board and will take charge for Sunday’s Amlin Challenge Cup visit of Italian champions Petrarca Padova, with the rest of the incumbent coaching team also staying on in their current roles.
Gold, the former London Irish and Western Province coach, said from his Cape Town home: “This is an exciting challenge, and I am delighted to have the opportunity to work in the Aviva Premiership.
“Newcastle Falcons are a big club with big ambitions 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.”
The arrival of Ford comes in particularly unusual circumstances, with the former England defence coach set to combine his consultant role at Championship promotion-chasers Leeds Carnegie with his duties at Newcastle.
Only Leeds and Bristol are expected to meet the stadium criteria for Premiership entry, meaning that Ford’s input with the Yorkshire club could ultimately work against the Falcons should they finish the season at the bottom of the table.
Gold’s (left) first official game at the helm will be next Saturday’s Amlin Challenge Cup trip to Lyon, although uncertainty surrounds his presence due to the timing of his appointment leaving little scope to secure a French visa.
The Falcons’ South African playing contingent had to personally visit the country’s embassy in London many months ago to secure the necessary papers, leaving Newcastle to liaise with Gold in establishing exactly what passports and visas he currently holds.