Director of rugby Dean Richards admitted his Newcastle Falcons side made hard work of Saturday’s European Challenge Cup opener at home to Dragons, but was pleased to have taken the full five points from a 32-27 victory.
Tries from Rob Vickers, Adam Radwan, Gary Graham and Mark Wilson saw the Falcons home in the end, Richards stating: “We’ve sat down and had a chat about it in the changing room, and we’re a bit frustrated about it to be honest with you.
“We were inaccurate in certain areas, we had four new starters in key positions and that does make a difference. Perhaps we tried to push it a little too much at times.
“The Dragons aren’t a bad side and we handed them a few chances, plus we didn’t capitalise on a few of our own. Ordinarily we wouldn’t do that, but we pulled through in the end and just about got the job done.”
Admitting it wasn’t an easy watch with his side trailing in the second half, the Falcons boss said: “I was concerned when they went ahead, concerned mainly because of our own inaccuracy and the fact we started to turn the ball over. We’d spoken at half-time about the fact we didn’t need to do that, and a number of their tries came from us turning it over.
“But all things considered we’re pleased to have started with a win, if not being entirely happy with the performance. If we can do that playing at 70% or thereabouts then that’s pleasing in a sense, but there’s a lot of work to be done.
“I thought Gary Graham was outstanding in the back row, as was Ryan Burrows, and you had guys like Maxime Mermoz and Toby Flood benefiting from getting a full 80 minutes into them. For those guys to get through that amount of work was great, and I thought Gary in particular was fantastic.”
Heading to France for their next assignment, Richards added: “Bordeaux had a big win over in Russia, and they’re a good side. We know it will be a hard game over there next weekend, but we’ll see.”