BATH coach Michael Foley was almost rendered speechless after his side's 24-12 victory over Newcastle Falcons, and Bristol's last-day defeat at London Irish, saw the club keep their Premiership status.

The post-match scenes at the Recreation Ground were of unbridled relief as Bath players and the capacity 8,200 crowd celebrated.

And coach Foley admitted: "I am a bit lost for words.

"The players were magnificent, and I am thrilled for them. We put together some of our best attacking rugby today, and I am ecstatic for them."

Bath, though, only avoided finishing bottom on points difference at the expense of their fierce local rivals Bristol, and the season-long struggle is not lost on Foley.

"We are still at the bottom end of the Premiership, and it hasn't been a successful season," he added.

"We shouldn't have been in this situation this season, and we shouldn't have been in it last season either, and we now need to be able to start on the front foot for next term."

Foley paid tribute to the Bath fans, who stuck with the team through a difficult campaign, adding: "They are so loyal to us we owe the fans a lot.

"The faxes and emails that we have received have been incredible, and the players are fully aware of how much support they've had."

While Bath escaped, Bristol now look likely to be relegated, although confirmation of that is still awaited from Premiership chiefs.

And Newcastle's defeat meant that they missed out on a place in the wild card play-offs. The first legs of those games take place on Wednesday night, with Saracens hosting Leeds and Harlequins entertaining Leicester.