Dean Richards hailed the never-say-die attitude of his Newcastle Falcons side following Sunday’s 46-31 home victory over Northampton Saints.
Shipping two early tries and trailing 24-15 at half-time, the Falcons produced their best second half in years to claim all five Aviva Premiership points and complete the double over the East Midlands giants.
The director of rugby said after the final whistle: “I was frustrated and annoyed because we didn’t really start the game at all. After the warm-up we felt the boys were up for it, but oddly enough we thought the same thing last week at Sale and started with two quick tries.
“That side of it was frustrating because we knew there were opportunities all over the place for us, but we conceded two easy tries. The good thing was we continued to play, we clawed our way back in and at half-time had a good sit-down and chat about it.”
Flying out of the blocks with two early second-half tries, Richards said: “We were quite measured in our chat in the changing room.
“We just talked about what needed to be done, and the players knew, to be fair. They’re bright boys, it is player-led here a lot of the time and they just did what needed to be done.
“It was an incredible start to the second half but the deal still wasn’t entirely done, and we had to battle through to the end. Fair dues to the boys, we are an 80-minute side and we went right through til the 80th. Northampton, to be fair, came here to play, and I thought they contributed to what was a great game. The neutrals and the home fans will certainly have enjoyed it.
“Our bench guys came on and helped carry it through. It was nice to see Scotty Wilson back, Scotty Lawson coming on for the outstanding Kyle Cooper, and everyone, really. The quality of guys we were able to bring on shows our strength in depth now, and we’re starting to churn out victories based on 23 rather than 15 players. That’s important.”
Taking their enthusiasm and winning momentum down to Devon next weekend, the Falcons’ boss said: “We have Exeter away and it’s a bit of a bogey ground for us down there, so in that sense we have nothing to lose.
“It’s a short turnaround so we won’t be over-celebrating. It will be a couple of sports drinks and then back into training, and there are a few battered bodies in there.”
Newcastle Falcons’ next home games is on Sunday March 5 when Aviva Premiership champions Saracens are the visitors to Kingston Park Stadium (2pm). Tickets for the game are available by calling 0871 226 6060 or clicking here.