Richards frustrated by Irish result
Following a nail-biting Aviva Premiership clash at the Madjeski Stadium, the Director of Rugby said: “It’s frustration yet again.
“Firstly because we didn’t show the defensive discipline we know we’re capable of, and there were inaccuracies against a side we should have been comfortably beating. To butcher six or seven clear opportunities is poor from us, and we don’t normally do that so the manner of the defeat was disappointing.
“But also because we never seem to get the rub of the green from the referee. Two key decisions cost us 10 points today and arguably cost us the win.”
Highlighting Josh Furno’s late sin-binning and Halani Aulika’s opening try, Richards said: “It was a slightly different thing today.
“You look at the penalty at the end and the yellow card for Josh. It was a ridiculous decision.
“The guy was lifted, Josh was calling ‘maul’ and somebody comes in and starts punching him. Josh got sin-binned and I cannot understand what offence he’s committed.
“You could probably say the same for their first try when Aulika was not at the back of the ruck but picked up the ball and went through the middle.
“That should have been a penalty to us but, having said that, we have to hold our hands up and admit our first-half defence was pretty poor when they were in our 22.”
Scoring two second-half tries through Adam Powell and Chris Harris, the Falcons’ boss hailed the impact of the latter in an action-packed half-hour.
He said: “Chris gives 100% every time he plays, but it’s not just that. He has quality, he has a habit of scoring and he challenges people. That’s nice to see, and I was delighted with the impact he and Juan Pablo Socino had.
“We started to challenge them in a slightly different way. Juan had been ill all week so we decided not to start him, but he didn’t look too bad when he came on.”
Summing up the overall frustration, Richards added: “We’ve got to back ourselves, keep our shape and defend as we know we can defend.
“That was probably the order of the day for us. We didn’t back ourselves, didn’t defend, didn’t keep our shape in attack and six or seven tries went begging.
“Two of their three tries were a result of gross negligence from a defensive point of view, and we were totally at fault rather than it being down to their good play.”