Richards credits battling young guns
Will Haydon-Wood’s last-minute penalty from 40 metres out handed them the consolation point after an entertaining game, Quins holding out to become 26-20 winners in front of a home crowd of 6,114.
Speaking after the game, Richards said: “Harlequins took their opportunities well and I thought it was a good game of rugby.
“We could have been more clinical in a couple of areas – Quins scored a couple of first-phase tries which we could have defended better – and we’ve just got to be more precise.
“Having said all that, I was happy with a lot of what we did produce, and I thought some of the young boys really put their hand up.
“Iwan Stephens had an excellent debut and rounded off a great try, everyone knows what Adam Radwan is about, Ben Stevenson went well at 13, as did Brett Connon at fly-half, Will Haydon-Wood kicked a great pressure penalty at the end to get us a bonus point and Cam Kelemeti showed up well on his Premiership debut.
“I thought Tom Penny was very good at full-back, the back-row hunted well and George McGuigan’s line-out was outstanding yet again. There are definitely positives there for us, and it’s not all doom and gloom.”
Asked about the officiating after a couple of key decisions, Richards said: “The players felt the rub of the green eluded them with certain decisions at times, but it’s difficult for the officials with so many new laws so you have to cut them a bit of slack at times I think.
“It’s still frustrating though when you struggle to understand why certain decisions are taken, and when the application of those laws doesn’t always seem to be consistent.
“When you’re playing against the champions it’s only natural there’s going to be that little bit of preconception, and it just didn’t go our way today.”
Refusing to be too downbeat after all the effort and creativity shown by his troops, the Falcons boss added: “You obviously want to win matches and that will never change, but the sense of pride we get when we bring through our young local players on this kind of stage is huge for us.
“The boys are obviously frustrated in the changing room, but I don’t think they should be too hard on themselves.”
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