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Low-flying Falcons knock boss Bates off his perch

NEWCASTLE have sacked boss Steve Bates after narrowly avoiding relegation in another disappointing season at Kingston Park.

Victory over Sale 12 days ago secured their Premiership status but, with the Falcons lying 10th ahead of Saturday’s final fixture of the campaign, was not enough to save Bates.

Bates said: “I’m disappointed at the outcome of this review, but I’m proud of what has been achieved this season in a very competitive environment.”

Bates took charge in May 2008 following the departure of John Fletcher, having rejoined the club’s coaching staff a year earlier.

Coach Alan Tait has been placed in charge for the visit of Wasps. The club lost fly-half Jonny Wilkinson last year and faces the exit of prop Carl Hayman in the summer.