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Gold salutes Falcons' character

Newcastle boss Gary Gold hailed his players' "amazing" character after they grasped an Aviva Premiership relegation lifeline.

Falcons' stunning 29-20 victory over Gloucester at Kingsholm closed the points gap on 11th-placed Wasps. Newcastle, who have two games left against Saracens and then Wasps, can still avoid the drop after prevailing through tries by flanker Ally Hogg and replacement back-row forward Mark Wilson, while captain Jimmy Gopperth kicked 19 points.

"From a game-management point of view, we were very good in the first half. We pretty much stuck to plan perfectly, really," South African Gold said.

"We lost our way a little bit in the second half, and if truth be told we got a little bit lucky with our last try, but the character of the players was amazing.

"This is a good bunch of rugby players who are really committed to keeping Premiership rugby in the north-east.

"Our work-rate off the ball was particularly good. The guys really put their hands up today. They don't want to give up, they want to play in the Premiership next season."

Gloucester's top-six ambitions now face a huge examination against Kingsholm visitors Sale Sharks next Saturday following one of their worst home performances in the professional era.

"We looked nervous in the first half, frightened to take the game by the horns and have a real go at it," head coach Bryan Redpath said. "It is about people taking responsibility and being accountable. With seven minutes to go we had clawed our way back to lead, and then there was another discipline issue. It was bitterly disappointing.

"There are going to be some questions thrown at us, and we must stick together and deal with it, not brush it under the carpet.

"We can't make excuses. We are a good enough side when we want to be, but we are not playing well enough at the moment to see games out and come away with a win. It's about being honest with each other."

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