Praise from Ponton despite Cup defeat

Saturday 19 November 2022 Written by: Adam

An entertaining Premiership Rugby Cup encounter saw both teams chalking up try-bonus points, with the Falcons bouncing back from 21-0 down to draw 21-21 at half-time.

Speaking after the game, head of academy Ponton said: “At 21-0 down I was obviously disappointed but Northampton started strongly, as we knew they would.

“Looking back through their games that has been a feature of theirs, but credit to the boys for battling back to 21-21 at half-time.

“It was a brilliant coming in at half-time and gave the boys a real lift, because it was a real momentum shift.

“We knew we’d set the bar and that we had to maintain that level, and despite the obvious disappointment of losing it was a valuable experience for a lot of our players.

“All week we’d been looking at moving the ball, but we moved to one-out plays and a lot of kicking for field position.

“The messages going onto the field were all about changing the point of attack and playing with some width, taking the ball to their edges where there was space.

“We did that, and started offloading around the tackles. I think the boys saw that was working, and we got three tries off the back of that momentum.”

The visitors edged an all-action second half, Ponton reflecting: “At half-time the messages were all around moving the point of attack, and I also felt our kick-chase had become a bit narrow. If Northampton were going to score we were going to make them go round us, not through us, and we tightened that up a little bit.

“We got in plenty of positions to score during the second half but we couldn’t quite pull the trigger on it.

“We’re reflecting in the changing room that maybe we made some poor decisions in terms of the options we were taking when we were getting penalties and free kicks, and we’ll have to look back at how we can improve there.

“All in all I thought it was a good game, though, and Northampton are a strong side with a lot of good young players, just like us.

“It’s great to see so many of our senior academy guys out there playing and doing well. Some of them have come off disappointed but this is the start of their journey, and it’s the learnings they take from it that will serve them well.

“The way that rugby is going I think will suit our players, because it’s more about moving the ball rather than hitting box kicks and grinding your way up the field. It’s exciting times, and this is a good platform for a lot of players.”

Newcastle Falcons are next in action on Friday night when they host Exeter Chiefs in the Gallagher Premiership.

[**Click here**][1] to buy tickets for the 7.45pm kick-off.