Director of rugby Dean Richards admitted defence was a concern as his Newcastle Falcons team shipped a late double in Saturday’s 26-21 home loss to Ospreys.
The European Challenge Cup defeat ends his side’s involvement in this season’s competition, Newcastle having led going into the final quarter before slipping against the unbeaten pool leaders.
Richards said: “It was a cracking game for about 60 minutes and then we conspired to throw it away. We’re a bit disappointed by that, to be honest with you.
“Ospreys stepped up the pace of the game in the last 20-25 minutes, and our boys dropped off. That was a little bit disconcerting but, having said that, they are a good side with a lot of quality players and it was quite an interesting game.”
Giving game time to a number of his fringe players and those on the comeback trail from injury, the Falcons boss added: “Some of the stuff we produced was pleasing up to a point, but when you go 14 ahead during a game you expect to either pull away a little bit or consolidate.
“Instead we conceded two or three very easy tries, and that’s the concern from my side. We’ve got to work a little bit harder on that.”
Defeating Lyon and Grenoble at home but losing all four of their other group outings, Richards said: “We wanted to win all of our home games, and that’s what has disappointed me more than anything.
“What happens at the away games happens, and if you win one or two of those you stand a chance of going through. If you lose all of your away games and one of your home matches you have no chance, and that’s what has happened. So yeah, we’re disappointed. A lot of the boys are vying for positions and I’m sure they will feel the same.
“In terms of sticking to our shape and understanding how we want to play, it has still been useful. We created opportunities all over the place but it was just having that accuracy to finish them off.
“I was also a bit worried by our defence today. We conceded far too many tries, as we did the week before as well, and that concerns me more than anything.”
Finding some positives, he added: “Kyle Cooper played well while he was on, it was good to have Sean Robinson back and likewise for Will Welch. We are getting there, we are getting a few boys back from injury but there is still a long way to go.”
The Falcons’ next home game is against Bath on Saturday February 4, with a 3pm kick-off for the Anglo-Welsh Cup encounter. Tickets are available by calling 0871 226 6060 or by clicking here.