Sunday 02 November 2014 Written by: Adam

Dean Richards highlighted the breakdown as the key area for improvement after Newcastle Falcons lost their LV= Cup opener 37-23 at Northampton Saints.

The director of rugby had plenty of praise for the spirit and tenacity of his side, but admitted the Saints had benefited from quick ball.

Richards said: “I am disappointed, obviously. Four games could have been five games because we have been on a bit of a run, but we were lacking a little bit of accuracy at times.”

“We got pinged by the referee at the breakdown during the first half, and looking at it I think he was pretty accurate. If the referee is accurate then you have got to be accurate, and we lost a little bit of that.”

The Falcons boss added: “More than anything it was the speed of the ball that Northampton got from the breakdown. That caused us a few problems, and if people aren’t competiting legitimately for the ball then you want them in the defensive line.”

“Our decision-making around that area was not particularly good, and we either allowed them the ball too quickly or didn’t have enough guys in the back-line. It is our own fault more than anything, but Northampton have some quality youngsters and they showed it. I liked Howard Packman on the wing for them, and there are a few others there who are going to be good.”

Finding positives from an unbeaten October, Richards said: “If you look at the experience some of the boys have gained over the last few weeks, I think it has been outstanding. To come away with the wins we have done, especially Newport and Exeter, delights me.”

“I thought Northampton were there for the taking with the team they named on Saturday. There were also changes with our own side, but having stuck with our shape, we could have snuck it.”

“Fair dues to Northampton though, because they were the better team on the day and they deserved their win.”

The Falcons now face Cardiff Blues at home on Friday, November 7th in Round 2 of the LV= Cup with tickets on sale now by clicking [here][1] calling 0871 2266060 or by visiting the Kingston Park Box Office during office hours.