Anglo-Welsh Cup - Round 3
Gold delighted with winning start
January 29, 2012
Newcastle's Mark Wilson looks to force an opening during his side's victory at Kingston Park © Getty Images
Newcastle's new director of rugby Gary Gold made a winning home start to his Kingston Park tenure as Newcastle crushed Sale 37-7 in their Anglo-Welsh Cup clash on Sunday.
The former London Irish and South Africa assistant coach, along with former England defence coach Mike Ford, watched the Falcons score four tries for a bonus-point win to keep alive the possibility of qualifying for the knock-out stages of the competition. The win moves Newcastle on to 10 points in their pool, four behind the Scarlets who are clear favourites to go through, and the Falcons' focus is obviously on Premiership survival.
"All success is important," said Gold. "That's what this club deserves and that's what the guys want to do and if the consequences of that are that you qualify and put the club in cup competitions then that's fantastic, but the main object at the moment is to just keep on improving.
"The key word today was performance," added Gold. "Obviously we're delighted with the win but the thing that was most pleasing was the performance. The only thing we can commit to do as coaches is to try and improve all aspects of our performances and our performance was pleasing, but we have a long way to go. We haven't really achieved anything yet so let's not get ahead of ourselves.
"The areas that were pleasing was our performance at the breakdown, our general defence, the commitment of the guys in the tackle area and we carried the ball well. We had a fantastic work rate, but there are areas to work on in our set-piece, I still don't think our set-piece is good enough and we have a lot of work to do.
"Jimmy Gopperth had to play full-back because we didn't have another fullback in the squad, but he is a fantastic footballer, you saw how cool, calm and collected he was and he ran the show very well from the back."
Gopperth scored 22 points in the Falcons' victory, with Mark Wilson, Tim Swinson and Rob Vickers also touching down with Nick Macleod scoring and converting one try for Sale.
Gold added: "Getting results against anybody at this point in time whether they have or have not got to come back here in the league is important, I'm sure, psychologically, but I'm sure they'll come back here with a different team and some key players will have been rested but it is important to start to make Kingston Park a fortress again and a difficult place to come to and we have taken the first step.
"It is fantastic to score four tries and the guys were really sensible and didn't panic when Sale came at us early in the second half and we stuck to the game plan, turned that pressure around and if you apply pressure the tries will come. The crowd were fantastic. The folk here in the north-east love their rugby and I'm really appreciative they came out here on a wet and cold afternoon to support their team."
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