News in Brief
Bates set for Falcons axe?
Steve Bates' Newcastle side are currently 10th in the Guinness Premiership
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- Newcastle chairman Dave Thompson has fuelled speculation that director of rugby Steve Bates is set for the axe by vowing to "put the club right" after a disappointing season.
The Falcons finally secured their Guinness Premiership status last weekend with a 32-30 victory at fellow strugglers Sale Sharks - only their sixth win in 21 league games. Thompson wants a summer overhaul at Kingston Park and reports this morning stated that a review of the club's coaching staff is set to lead to Bates' departure.
"We are working hard behind the scenes, and we will put this club right," Thompson said. "There will be a series of announcements over the coming weeks. I am bitterly disappointed with the performance this season, as I know our supporters are too. It has simply not been good enough. The passion shown by the supporters is going to be matched by the club next season. I promise that will happen. We will not let them down next season."
Falcons wing Charlie Amesbury has undergone surgery on a hernia, ruling him out for the remaining games of the season. The former Harlequins back will return for pre-season training.
- The RFU has charged Worcester back-row duo James Collins and Chris Cracknell with conduct prejudicial to the interests of the game in the wake of their altercation at the end of the Warriors' loss to Leeds last weekend. The incident reportedly arose following a confrontation between the players' fathers and will now be investigared by RFU disciplinary officer Jeff Blackett.
Already, Cracknell has been slapped with a two-week ban, given a written warning and fined by the Warriors, while Collins has been warned and fined.
- The Reds have announced that utility back Ben Lucas has signed a new two-year deal with the Queensland-based Super 14 franchise.
Head Coach Ewen McKenzie said Lucas was an extremely valuable member of the squad and he was delighted that he had accepted the offer to re-sign through to 2012. "You can only be as good as the depth of your squad allows and in Ben, we have someone who gives us multiple options because of his ability to play scrumhalf, flyhalf or even wider in the backline. He's tremendously valuable to us in that regard," McKenzie said.
- Dax coach Thomas Lievremont, brother of France boss Marc, has joined Bayonne on a two-year contract as forwards coach. The club was recently spared relegation from the Top 14 by Montauban's administrative demotion.