Mixed feelings for Richards despite Friday victory
The director of rugby was unhappy with the manner in which the Exiles were allowed back into the contest during the final quarter, despite his team playing some scintillating rugby in the opening period.
“It was a frustrating second half after a clinical first 40, so it was quite muted in the changing room after the final whistle,” said Richards.
“We took our three tries really well then dropped off in intensity, and we lost our patience. We began to push things too much, made some silly offloading decisions and allowed them back into the game. We were frustrated at the end, if I’m honest.”
The Falcons boss added: “During the first half we did the simple things well, and that’s exactly what we didn’t do afterwards.
“We were sat there watching players doing things they wouldn’t ordinarily do, but if you’d have given me five points at the start of the day I’d definitely have taken it against a good London Irish team.
“Irish are a big set of boys who can turn you over, as Harlequins found out, and we had to perform. The players were shattered after the final whistle because they’d had to really work, and full credit to London Irish.”
Ending the evening top of the tree but with a trip to the champions next up, Richards said: “We know what’s coming and next weekend at Exeter is a very difficult game.
“It’s not a place where we’ve had much success down the years, but a few teams can say that about Exeter. We’ve got absolutely nothing to lose so we’ll just give it a crack and see what happens, and nobody here is getting ahead of themselves.”
Cheered on by a season-high gate of 7,650, he added: “The crowd were absolutely fantastic tonight, and they really lifted the boys. It means so much to us to have that support, and I want to thank everyone who came along this evening because it made a big difference.”