Saturday 04 January 2014 Written by: Adam

Sale’s Nick MacLeod even crushed any hopes of a losing bonus point for the Falcons with a 73rd minute penalty, leaving Richards a frustrated figure in the post-match press conference.

“It was our inability to play the conditions, and Sale simply did that a lot better than we did,” said Richards.

“We gave away a soft try which is getting to be a habit and a couple of silly penalties. Like I said, what really let us down was our inability to play the conditions, especially in the second half, which is also becoming a habit,” he added.

After Tom Brady’s try put Sale 10-3 up, Newcastle showed resilience to pull themselves back into the contest thanks to Andy Saull, who added the finishing touches to a dominant rolling maul.

But with Carlo del Fava sent to the sin-bin just before the break, the Falcons were up against it and Danny Cipriani’s penalty on the stroke of half-time extended his team’s lead to 13-8.

Richards said: “The yellow card was what it was, but I would also question why their guy stayed on when they pulled our maul down when we were going over their line.

“We haven’t had much from the referees all year, so we can’t expect too much.

“We conceded a couple of silly penalties, but it wasn’t our discipline that ultimately let us down on the day.”

Newcastle host Brive in the Amlin Challenge Cup this Thursday with tickets still available by calling the Ticket Hotline on 0871 226 6060 or [click here][1] to purchase online.