Richards salutes five try Falcons
Director of rugby Dean Richards was a happy man as Newcastle Falcons once again quenched their thirst for tries in Sunday’s 39-19 home win over Sale Sharks.
In a flowing and entertaining encounter, Richards’ charges got over the try-line five times on Sunday afternoon, with the director of rugby stating: “That was the fifth game in a row in which we have scored a four-try bonus point and the boys are playing a really good brand of rugby at the moment.”
“At the start of the year we were missing tries and finding that really frustrating, but all of a sudden it has clicked and we are getting them on a regular basis.”
As in their last home Premiership fixture, the bonus point was secured before half-time thanks to scores from Lee Smith, Uili Kolo’ofai, Alex Rogers and Josh Furno, Richards said:
“We were really pleased with it even if we are still giving a few silly penalties away, and we said at half-time how are we going to maximise this?
“The players sorted it out among themselves and they are talking the right kind of language. They are setting the standards as a group and they don’t need me to tell them.”
Whilst taking advantage of try scoring opportunities, the Falcons were also on song in defence at key stages throughout the match, conceding only one try. It was a statistic that pleased the Falcons DOR, although was tempered by the penalties that allowed Sale to remain in touch heading into half time.
“Early on Sale made in-roads into us and we conceded a few silly penalties, but when we sorted ourselves out and tidied up we were quite at ease. Possibly too much at ease, in fact, because we still want the boys to go forward and get stuck into them. We stood back a little bit, but we only conceded one try and I was reasonably happy with that.”
With a side showing 11 changes from the European Rugby Challenge Cup win over Bucharest, the new look side showed no discernable drop off in performance from that match, with the England and Lions No 8 delighted with the strength and depth available in his squad.
“The beauty for me is that whatever side I put out is going to be competitive, and we will try to give people as much of an opportunity as we can.”
“Scotty MacLeod got man of the match despite this being his first game for a reasonable amount of time, and his line-out work was exceptional. It was instrumental in a lot of our tries, and the competition for places is right up there in every position.”
“I was pleased with Jamie Helleur, and Danny Barnes played a big part. Uili Kolo’ofai took his try well and showed why we have a lot of time for him, although we had to take him off as a precaution when his calf tightened up a little bit.”
With a further game to play in this season’s LV= Cup competition, the Falcons are unable to make the knock out stages which, Richards admits sees the clubs attention primarily set on the Premiership trip to Exeter a week on Saturday.
Richards said: “The focus is always on the Premiership, albeit with a European quarter-final now in the equation as well.
“Whatever happens at London Irish on Saturday is more in the context of Exeter the week after, but we are playing some good stuff at the moment and there are lots of positive signs.”
With two away fixtures next in line, the Falcons next home match sees them take on a resurgent Wasps under the Kingston Park lights on Friday, February 20th.
Tickets for the game are available to buy [online] by calling the Falcons ticket hotline on 0871 226 6060 or by visiting the Kingston Park box office Monday – Friday 09:00 – 17:30 and Saturday 10:00 – 16:00