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Page last updated at 14:26 GMT, Tuesday, 4 May 2010 15:26 UK

Director of rugby Steve Bates leaves Newcastle Falcons

Steve Bates
Bates has been a player, coach and director of rugby at Newcastle

Newcastle Falcons have terminated the contract of director of rugby Steve Bates, ending a three-year second spell at Kingston Park.

Bates, 47, took over the post on an interim basis from former coach John Fletcher in March 2008, and was handed the full-time role in May of that year.

The two full seasons under Bates's leadership have seen the club struggle near the bottom of the Premiership.

Coach Alan Tait will take charge of Sunday's final game at home to Wasps.

Bates's reign at Newcastle has been a difficult one with several of the Falcons' star names such as the England trio of Jonny Wilkinson, Jamie Noon and Toby Flood all departing, as well as the exit of All Black tight-head Carl Hayman this summer.

We would all like to express our thanks to Steve for his contribution during his time as director of rugby

Chairman Dave Thompson

He returned to the club after a spell coaching with the Border Reivers and the England Saxons in May 2007, working alongside Fletcher, having spent time with the club as a player and then coach under former director of rugby Rob Andrew before his first exit in 2003.

He said: "I am disappointed at the outcome of this review, but I am proud of what has been achieved this season in a very competitive environment.

"I would like to thank the players and all of the back-up staff for their support and effort. I would also like to thank my wife and family for their fantastic support, loyalty and encouragement during this time."

Chairman Dave Thompson said: "We would all like to express our thanks to Steve for his contribution during his time as director of rugby, and wish him every success in the future.

"With immediate effect first-team coach Alan Tait will now take charge as head coach, reporting into chief executive David Bell.

"Alan will be undertaking a review of the playing, coaching and support structure, and announcements relating to that review are expected shortly."

I've always thought that with director of rugby you get your fingers in a lot of pies, but I'd rather just stick to rugby

Caretaker coach Alan Tait

Tait, Bates's assistant and a former Falcons player, had previously distanced himself from a director of rugby role.

He said: "I don't like that title, I don't know what it means, and I don't know what you're supposed to do.

"I just enjoy coaching, getting out on the field and working with the players.

"I've always thought that with director of rugby you get your fingers in a lot of pies, but I'd rather just stick to rugby."

Newcastle avoided relegation this season, after Worcester dropped into the National League following their 12-10 defeat by Leeds Carnegie.



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