Dave Walder praises second-half fightback

Friday 23 December 2022 Written by: Adam

The meeting of the Gallagher Premiership’s two northern clubs ended with a 20-14 win for the Falcons after second-half tries from Mateo Carreras and Sam Stuart, with Walder saying: “The first half was one for the purists, if I was being polite about it.

“I’d spoken before the game in my TV interview about how nobody enjoys playing in the driving rain and weather like we had, and I was hauled over the coals by Micky Ward, Mark Wilson and Scott MacLeod for saying it.

“They were all ‘I love this, me’, and this was a result which owes a huge amount to the hard work of all three of those guys.

“Micky and Scotty had the set-piece firing, Wils helped drive the attitude and intensity as he always does, and we showed a lot of character to come back from a pretty poor opening half.”

Crediting his charges for their second-half comeback, Walder said: “I thought we were outstanding after half-time, and we always knew we had to stand up physically to a very good Sale side who are flying high at second in the league.

“We knew if we stuck at it that our dominant scrum would start to tell, and it won us penalties at key moments. On the odd occasion where we found ourselves under a bit of pressure Mateo Carreras came up with some big moments in defence, among with other lads, and our set-piece did the rest.

“At half-time we felt our mistakes weren’t effort-based, they were mainly issues around clarity of roles, and we knew if we could channel that energy and attitude it would eventually pay dividends.

“Getting the early penalty to make it 14-3 got us in the game, and from there we just didn’t let go. We knew we had to chip away at the scoreboard, and our confidence just grew.”

Reflecting on an attritional game played out in torrential rain, the former fly-half added: “I’d love to play a free-flowing style of rugby, but on a night like tonight you just can’t do it.

“I know it frustrates people – it frustrates me as well – and in front of our biggest crowd of the season you don’t want to give them a dull game.

“You just have to play the conditions, though, and our fans stuck with us as we started to exert some forward dominance after half-time.

“I hope they’ll go home happy even though it wasn’t a vintage game, but we’ve got a bunch of guys in that changing room who give everything and are proud to represent this club.”

Newcastle Falcons’ next home game is on Saturday January 7 when they host champions Leicester Tigers.

[**Click here**][1] to buy tickets for the 2pm Gallagher Premiership kick-off.

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