Newcastle director of rugby Dean Richards insists the Falcons are intent on an immediate return after relegation was confirmed with a 28-19 defeat at the hands of Gloucester at Kingsholm.

Richards will remain in charge at Kingston Park, with a club statement backing him to get the club back up at the first attempt.

The Falcons battled throughout Saturday’s defeat but ill-discipline - yellow cards for Toby Flood and Calum Green - at a crucial stage gave Gloucester easy points and gave them the opportunity to pick up a hard-earned bonus-point victory

Gloucester's tries came from Jason Woodward, Danny Cipriani, Charlie Sharples and Matt Banahan with Billy Twelvetrees converting all four.

Micky Young, Sinoti Sinoti and George McGuigan scored tries for Newcastle with Flood adding two conversions.

Richards said: "We are focused on getting back up immediately next season. There is normally a 12 to 14-player turnaround at the end of each season and I don't see it being any different this year. I know who is going and who is staying but I'm not able to divulge it at this stage.

"Survival in the Premiership is getting harder each year as recruitment is improving and if you want to win it, you need a huge budget.

"The game was like the story of the season as we put our heart and soul into it but lack of accuracy cost us two or three tries.

"It's always tough coming down here and they are a good team with a great playmaker at 10 (Cipriani) but we did incredibly well.

"George McGuigan and Gary Graham were both outstanding and the youngsters, who were drafted in didn't look out of place."

A club statement, issued on Saturday evening, read: “Newcastle Falcons are disappointed to confirm that we will play in the RFU Championship next season following the most competitive Premiership in recent memory.

“Despite dropping down a level we are fully committed to securing promotion back to the top flight at the first attempt under the direction of Dean Richards. While we are confident of a return to the Premiership within a year, it is something we certainly do not take for granted and will approach the competition very seriously.

We remain fully committed to our playing and coaching staff as well as continued investment in our academy, which continues to produce a steady stream of talented local players.

“Crowds have been growing over the last few seasons, and we will be working hard to continue to provide a fantastic match-day experience and deliver great value to our customers.’’

Gloucester's victory guaranteed them a third place finish in the Gallagher Premiership with an away semi-final at Saracens or Exeter awaiting them in the play-offs after a difficult final league game at Sale next Saturday.

Head coach Johan Ackermann said: "We knew what to expect as they were a desperate side, who needed five points. We began well but couldn't convert the pressure and gave away a breakaway try.

"We were never at our best and defensively we switched off in a scrappy game.

"I don't want to be harsh on the boys but as we had already qualified for Europe and the play-offs, there wasn't the challenge for them to excel although I'm tremendously proud of the effort they put in.

"We lost to Newcastle last year so it's a step in the right direction and shows how far we've come.

"Saracens and Exeter are far ahead of the rest in the league so I'm hoping we can play well and make a real fist of it in the play-offs."