Tait considers Falcons' future

The Northern Echo: CONSIDERING FUTURE: Newcastle head coach Alan Tait CONSIDERING FUTURE: Newcastle head coach Alan Tait

Newcastle head coach Alan Tait will mull over his future with the club over the next few days after the Falcons went down 16-10 at home to Exeter Chiefs to remain firmly rooted at the bottom of the Aviva Premiership table.

The Chiefs led 10-0 at half-time after an opportunist try from scrum-half Haydn Thomas as Newcastle's habit of starting slowly and gifting tries struck again.

The Falcons were unable to come back from that deficit and although they did squeeze a losing bonus point out of the game with Tim Swinson's converted try two minutes from time, they remain well adrift at the foot of the standings

Tait admitted the "knives will be out" for him following the loss.

"We have to face up to reality and we have just had a meeting with the players and coaches about where we are,'' said the former Scotland and British Lions player who is in his second full season as Newcastle head coach.

Last year, Newcastle survived relegation only by points difference but this season they have been well adrift for much of the campaign.

Tait added: "It's going to be tough old battle now and we have to be realistic. I have to look at myself as well and I will do that and I will have a talk with the owner.

"I'll 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 owner and see what happens. The knives will be out for me and quite rightly so. Maybe I'm 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.''

The win eases Exeter's relegation fears after they lost both of their holiday matches to London Irish and Harlequins.

The Chiefs led 10-0 at half-time after an opportunist try from scrum-half Haydn Thomas as Newcastle's habit of starting slowly and gifting tries struck again.

Fly-half Ignacio Mieres kicked the conversion and added penalties either side of half-time plus a drop goal four minutes from the end to see the Chiefs cruising at 16-3 until Swinson's late strike raised a few doubts.

Gopperth converted the close-range try to add to his second-half penalty to clinch a bonus point for the Falcons at 16-10, but it came too late.

There was simply no one at home when Thomas scampered through a yawning gap on the 22 and the scrum-half was never going to be caught, and Mieres' conversion made it 7-0 after ten minutes.

The Falcons did have a couple of chances, the best midway through the half when Jeremy Manning just failed to get on the end of a Gopperth kick through, but they were on the back foot for the rest of the first half as their line-out misfired again and they failed to look after the ball when they had it.

Gopperth missed a long-range penalty and while they had the lion's share of possession, Exeter failed to make it count against some top-class Newcastle tackling.

The Falcons coughed up the ball once again in their own half and conceded a penalty which Mieres slotted right on half-time for the Chiefs to lead 10-0 at the break.

Gopperth kicked a penalty within a minute of the restart but Mieres was on target as well two minutes later.

And when Gopperth missed two difficult penalties in three minutes and the Falcons made a mess of three attacking line-outs in the Chiefs 22, it was hard to see Newcastle getting anything out of the game at all. There was a brief flurry sparked by Suka Hufanga's weaving run, but once again Newcastle's inability to protect the ball ended any hopes of a score.

With six minutes left Mieres slotted his drop goal after some patient phases from the Exeter forwards.

Newcastle finally found some edge to their play and Swinson barrelled through followed by Gopperth's quickly taken conversion but it was not nearly enough.

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