Walder credits ‘clinical’ Cardiff

Sunday 15 January 2023 Written by: Adam

Newcastle trailed 28-3 at the interval and had to play the entire second half with 14 men due to Elliott Obatoyinbo’s red card, with Walder saying: “In the first ten minutes we looked like we were still in bed from the early kick-off, and we gave them two soft tries.

“We came back pretty strongly, and at 14-3 I thought we had come back into it and were playing pretty well.

“To then go and throw the intercept when we have a five-versus-three on the edge made the boys’ heads drop a bit, and once you’re playing a full half with 14 men it’s always a big ask.

“It wasn’t a great place to be at half-time, but credit to the boys because I thought we battled back in the second half and gave a better account of ourselves.

“We showed glimpses of what we were about, but Cardiff were just more clinical than us. Against a team of that quality you’ve got to take your chances, and we weren’t able to do that.”

Asked about the Falcons’ approach to the competition, Walder said: “We selected a team we thought could come here and win, albeit having rested a couple of guys who have played big minutes in the Premiership.

“I thought our scrum was outstanding, we maybe didn’t get the rewards we deserved from it and we saw Philip van der Walt coming back from a long injury-lay-off.

“Pedro Rubiolo came on and made his debut, Alun Walker also made his debut and scored a try, and there are positives to take from it.

“Ultimately we just lacked accuracy at key moments, we huffed and puffed but weren’t able to blow the house down.

“We didn’t react particularly well to how it was being refereed, and it’s an area we’ll have to go away and look at make sure we’re stronger for next weekend. If we can do that then we give ourselves a chance to play, and when we play we’re able to hurt teams.”

Newcastle end the pool phase of the Challenge Cup on Saturday with a 5.30pm kick-off at home to Connacht, with Walder determined to finish on a high.

“Regardless of the permutations we’re at home in front of our own fans, and we’ve had success at home in the league recently,” he said.

“It’s important we respect our home fans and give them a performance that their support deserves, so even setting aside the prospects of going through in this tournament we just want to play well and win the game.”

[**Click here**][1] to buy tickets for Saturday’s game.

[1]: https://www.eticketing.co.uk/newcastle-falcons/EDP/Event/Index/1774?position=1