Director of rugby Dean Richards praised the doggedness of his Newcastle Falcons side as they completed a December clean sweep thanks to Saturday’s 20-15 win at London Irish.
The Aviva Premiership victory was Newcastle’s fifth straight win in all competitions, Richards’ pleasure at the result only tempered by his team’s failure to register a four-try bonus point.
“It nearly got away from us but it has been quite a disrupted week for the boys, and they just about did enough,” said the Falcons’ boss.
“Our flight got cancelled so we had to change the training schedule and bus it down to Reading, and it’s not ideal for the boys to spending seven hours plus on the coach the day before a game. But they just got on with it, we refused to let it affect us and in a way I can forgive the boys for not getting the bonus point after all they’ve been through.”
Richards added: “It was a bit disappointing to miss out on the fifth point after scoring three tries in the first half, and there were a few accuracy issues.
“We’d taken our three tries well, Alex Tait scoring one from a charge-down and another from a brilliant cross-field kick from Juan Pablo Socino, then Niki Goneva doing what he does best with a try in the left corner.
“We’d said before that Irish weren’t a bad team, and they were always going to threaten us at some point.
“We held out, we didn’t concede a try and we’re pleased about that, but our accuracy in other areas was what put a slight downer on the day. I suppose that’s a marker of how far we’ve come as a side that we can feel a bit subdued after a win, but getting four points down here isn’t a bad return.
“Yeah, we missed a bonus point that might ordinarily have been there for us, but given the bus journey the lads had been on the day before I can’t be too harsh on them. We’ve won five from five in December, there’s a long way to go yet but we’re making decent progress.
“Exeter next Sunday will be a big test for us at Kingston Park, they’re the champions and have been in good form recently so we know they’ll present us with a big challenge.”
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