Walder rues slow start
Trailing 21-0 at the break but winning the second half 14-21, Walder said: “I’ve got real mixed emotions tonight.
“We spoke beforehand about two things – enjoyment and having pride playing for the Newcastle Falcons jersey.
“I said to the boys at half-time I wasn’t enjoying what I was watching because I don’t think we’re showing enough pride in the jersey, and the lads were disappointed in themselves.
“I thought we were much better in the second half, we matched Wasps’ physicality unlike in the first half, we were a bit more accurate with our basics and we actually won the second half.
“It was a good learning for a lot of our young guys, and the message after the game was that we can’t afford to give teams a head start. So overall I’m proud of how we battled back, although disappointed by how we started.”
The head coach added: “The possession and territory stats at half-time didn’t lie – we were on something like 34% possession and 29% territory, which tells the story.
“I don’t think we put any pressure on Wasps really in that entire half, and then when we did have the opportunity we didn’t take it. We kept turning the ball back over, and their set-piece had the better of us in that half.
“At 21-0 down at half-time the lads could have rolled over and let Wasps run all over us, but I was proud that we did come back and showed a bit of fight.”
In the midst of a week which sees three away games in just eight days, Walder said: “Not looking for excuses but it’s our second away trip in four days, and we were still registering players during the bus-ride down this afternoon.
“We know that’s part and parcel of where we are geographically, and we could probably have dealt with it a little bit better. If we’d started the game more physically we’d have been in a much better position, but it was too much to ask from 21-0 down.”
Now preparing his squad for Saturday’s Gallagher Premiership trip to Worcester Warriors, he added: “Some of the lads who played tonight will be coming with us to Worcester, and the squad for Tuesday at home to Sale next week will have a similar look to this evening’s.
“Saturday at Worcester is the next main focus for us, and we’ll be putting everything into that to get our first win.”
Refusing to be distracted by the ongoing uncertainty at Worcester, the Falcons boss said: “We’ve got to expect the game to go ahead, and all we can do is prepare as if it is.
“Their staff did brilliantly to get their game against Exeter on last weekend given all the bits and pieces going on around it. I’m not quite sure what to believe in terms of all the statements they keep putting out, but the club and their support staff have done a great job in keeping the show on the road.
“They fought bravely against Exeter and probably just came up short in part because they’ve not done any contact training, and assuming it goes ahead, which we do, then we’re expecting a tough test.
“They’ll be emotionally charged, they’ll be chasing their first win just like we are and we’ve got to make sure we go down there with the right attitude. We can’t start slowly like we did tonight.”
Newcastle Falcons’ next home game is on Tuesday September 27 when they host Sale Sharks in the Premiership Rugby Cup.
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