Defensive resolves please Richards
Dean Richards praised the character of his Newcastle Falcons side following Friday night’s 20-10 Aviva Premiership home win over Gloucester.
The director of rugby saluted the defensive resolve shown by the Falcons in a bruising second half, having taken a 9-7 lead into the interval.
Richards said: “We were defending for our lives at the end, but showed loads of character. Bearing in mind the conditions we showed a lot of control, and our set-piece worked well. The previous week down at Bath we had struggled a little there, so it was nice to see that improvement and to make it count.”
“We showed a huge amount of patience. At times our shape was not quite right, but when we do we are destructive and can score tries from anywhere.”
Battling back from a try down inside 10 seconds when John Afoa scored from a charge-down, the Falcons boss added: “Going an easy score down in the opening seconds was probably the reality check we needed.
“That is just life sometimes, and in many respects I would sooner it happened in the first 10 seconds than at any other point in the game. Fair dues to the players because it didn’t happen again, and they played the conditions well.”
“We probably adapted to the weather a little bit better, although I was a little bit disappointed the referee took 12 or 13 penalties before giving them a yellow card. He was very quick to give us one after about seven or eight, which was harsh, but even when Andy Saull did go off the boys showed a lot of resolve in saying they are not going to cross our try-line.”
Having recalled Rory Clegg the fly-half rewarded him with five penalties in an assured display, Richards saying of the former Harlequin: “Cleggy kicked his goals well, and was also effective in controlling the game.
“He was helped ably by Mike Blair at scrum-half and Juan Pablo Socino outside of him, and the three of them worked well together. We adjusted a couple of things, and in the second half played the conditions well. A lot of people stood up, and it wasn’t just one or two.”
With Sinoti Sinoti grabbing the home side’s only five-pointer, Richards said: “It was disappointing only to have scored one try against Gloucester because we had opportunities in the early part of that second half, but at the same time I was very happy with the result.
“Looking at the conditions out there it was a wet, muggy Kingston Park night, but I think everyone in the crowd went home happy.”
“The most pleasing thing about it was that we ground out the win against the wind during that second half, having not amassed the points we wanted after choosing to play with the wind first off. It was going to be backs against the wall, so the character, patience and tactics we showed were all really pleasing from a coaching point of view.”
The Falcons next home game in the Aviva Premiership is Sunday November 30th against Sale Sharks. Kick off is at 15:15 and tickets are now on sale by clicking [here], calling 0871 2266060 or by visiting the Kingston Park box office during office hours.