Diamond asks for more composure

Friday 29 March 2024 Written by: Mark Smith

Newcastle Falcons boss Steve Diamond insisted his side need to add the finishing touch after Friday’s 19-13 defeat to Leicester Tigers, following one of the most remarkable finishes Kingston Park has ever witnessed.

The Tigers had three men sent to the sin bin in a game which saw more than 16 minutes of added time, during which the Falcons agonisingly could not find their winning try.

“We were like kids in a sweet shop at the end there playing against 14, 13 and then 12 men,” said Diamond, whose side drew a season-high home crowd for the occasion.

“We didn’t know which sweets to go for, and in the end we got none.

“Credit to Leicester because they defended really well during that period, and I’ve never seen a game like that.

“On 75 minutes there were a few fans starting to leave, and on 96 minutes they were all piling back into the stadium!”

Still searching for their first league win of the campaign, the consultant director of rugby added: “I don’t want to be known as plucky old Newcastle who might nick the odd game – I want us to become a good side who win regularly, especially at home.

“We’re not even winning the odd game yet, to be fair, but we’ve started to go from a team with no direction to one which looks like it knows where it wants to go.

“We do a lot of things right, but we need to keep our heads and finish off these games.

“We’ve had two battling performances at Exeter and then again tonight, but we’re here to win, and we haven’t won.

“We can pat ourselves on the back as much as we want but we came here for a ‘W’ and didn’t get it, so we’ll go away and try and put those pieces in place for when we next take the field at Bristol in three weeks.”

On the wider picture, he said: “There’s a real energy around the club, the commercial team did a great job with all the promos getting a crowd in, and the players tried their hearts out. Their work ethic is incredible, we just need to be a bit smarter in those crucial moments.

“Our inability to strike against a side which had multiple players in the sin bin was the reason we didn’t win the game, but I’m really positive about where this team can go. The players are responding to what we’re asking of them – they just need to start believing in themselves a bit more.

“It’s not easy to break the cycle, but let’s go down to Bristol and get the job done.”