Walder credits effort against table-topping Tigers
In front of their biggest home crowd since April 2019 – also against Leicester – the Falcons trailed 10-5 going into the business end of the game, where the table-toppers showed their class.
“We felt we were in the fight, although in the last 15 minutes we fell away a bit,” said Walder.
“The effort we put in during the first 65 minutes I thought was really good, and we spoke before the game about doing it for the boys who are leaving at the end of the season – not making it specifically about them, but sending them off with a performance they can be proud of in their last home game.
“To a man, I thought we did that, and the intensity was good.”
Trailing by ten at the break, Walder added: “We were into a pretty strong breeze in the first half, up against two of the best controlling half-backs in the league, and we knew we were going to have to defend a lot with Richard Wigglesworth and George Ford there.
“We kept them at arm’s length pretty well for the most part, and to be 10-0 down at half-time – I’d never say you’d be happy with that, but we were comfortable enough in knowing we were still very much in the contest.
“We started the second half well, were deemed to be held up over the line on two occasions and then Josh Basham’s offload a metre out was just a whisker away from giving us a try.
“The camera angles weren’t in our favour for the two TMO referrals even though our lads were adamant they’d scored, but that’s just the way it goes sometimes. You look back on those things as major turning points, but I was proud of the performance even though Leicester pulled away in the last ten minutes when we were chasing the game.
“Leicester have a squad full of great players and are really well stocked in every position, but I thought we negated a lot of their strengths pretty well in the first 65 minutes. They had a lot of territory in the first half without quite putting us to bed, but those one or two opportunities they did take are probably why they’re right at the top of the league.
“They have a style that they stick to very well, and they get results from it. Maybe they could have opened themselves up a little bit earlier and really gone for the bonus point, but at the end of the day they’ve won the game so they obviously know what they’re doing.”