Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Rugby Union: We Can Cope despite Departures - Bates

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Rugby Union: We Can Cope despite Departures - Bates

Article excerpt

FALCONS boss Steve Bates insists the shock departures of Toby Flood, Ben Woods and Mathew Tait are not signs of a club in meltdown.

Having watched his Newcastle side claim a 28-25 victory over Guinness Premiership champions Leicester Tigers at Kingston Park yesterday, the acting director of rugby explained that increased international commitments were a factor in the club's decision to allow the players to leave.

"Having four people removed from our back line for half of our league season was not a viable option in the long term, and we have acted accordingly," said Bates, who is expected to dip into the transfer market for some overseas additions in the coming weeks.

Hard-hitting Kiwi centre Tane Tu'ipulotu is among the names being pursued as summer recruits, while a French three-quarter and a South African back five forward are also understood to be among the club's targets.

"Three players have decided to take advantage of opportunities elsewhere which came their way, and there is certainly no feeling of disloyalty towards them from myself or the club," said Bates. …

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