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Gold set for Premiership return

Gary Gold will be back home in Cape Town on Monday - but his Aviva Premiership return could be confirmed later this week.

Bath are set to unveil the South African as their new coaching chief, filling the vacancy created by Sir Ian McGeechan's departure.

Former England defence coach Mike Ford is earmarked to join Gold at the Recreation Ground, Press Association Sport understands, with ex-London Irish prop Neal Hatley completing Bath's new-look coaching team alongside Brad Davis.

Gold, part of South Africa's coaching staff at the World Cup in New Zealand last autumn, has spent the last four months trying to keep Newcastle among English rugby's elite.

He took interim charge of the Falcons in January, tasked with keeping them up, and Newcastle finished the 22-game regular league season bottom by just one point following a 14-10 victory over their fellow strugglers Wasps on Saturday.

Asked about his immediate future, Gold said: "I am going home, and I have some options to consider."

Newcastle's fate now rests on the outcome of this season's second-tier Championship title race, which will not be concluded until May 30.

Bristol, London Welsh, Bedford and Cornish Pirates are all contesting silverware, although it is thought only Bristol of that quartet categorically meet Premiership entry criteria.

Gold will now hand over the reins at Kingston Park to Dean Richards, whose three-year worldwide coaching ban imposed for his part in the Harlequins Bloodgate saga expires this summer.

Bath's Premiership campaign petered out with a 28-3 defeat at title-chasing Leicester, meaning an eighth-place finish after winning just nine Premiership games.

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