Dean Richards was impressed with aspects of Newcastle Falcons’ performance but admitted it was a disappointing changing room following Sunday’s 14-13 Aviva Premiership loss to Leicester Tigers.
Missing a last-minute drop-goal and creating a number of try-scoring chances, the director of rugby said: “It is pretty frustrating when you consider the amount of times we got over their try line and the opportunities we didn’t take.
“We came away with a bit of a tanking at Bath last week, so turn it round in the manner we did today was pleasing in many ways. We should have won the game and clearly the lads are disappointed, but there is an element of pleasure in the way the guys have bounced back from what was a pretty tough lesson.
“We drew a line under the Bath game a day into the week. We analysed it and said let’s move on. We didn’t spend all week beating ourselves up about it, we quickly took a forward mind-set and in that regard I was impressed with how our players went about the task.”
Adamant his side should have been awarded a penalty from a scrum inside the final minute, Richards said: “It’s a tough call for a referee to make a decision which will probably decide a game.
“We felt a penalty would have been the right call, but at the same time we got penalised for a double movement when Dom Waldouck went over. We felt that should have gone to the TMO, we felt Niki Goneva’s knock-on bounced off his chest rather than his arm and, again, you’d want him to go to the TMO. But we had chances and didn’t take them. That’s our fault, not the referee’s.”
The Falcons boss added: “I think we have got a good squad here, Juan Pablo Socino scored a good try and the only downside is we didn’t score more. The guys are disappointed, but it’s a different kind of disappointment to last week down at Bath. The lads are kicking themselves for not winning, but on the performance side we are far happier.
“You look where we were at this stage last season and we hadn’t won a game up until Christmas, with hardly any bonus points. We were struggling, but this season we won our first game, we should have won against Leicester and every game is up for grabs now. Our crowd got right behind us, the players really responded to that and there is a massive appreciation here for the way the public stick with the lads. That South Stand is something else, it really is, and everyone inside that ground today really gave their all in supporting us.
“We are moving forward as a team, even when you consider the injury list we have got. Not just the numbers, but the concentration of injuries in positions like tight-head prop, back-row and in the centres. We are being tested in those areas but moving forward we feel like we are in a good place. We played well in patches and I thought deserved to win today, but you have got to take your chances when they are on offer. We didn’t quite do that.”
The Falcons’ next home game comes against Bristol on Saturday October 8. For tickets click here or call 0871 226 6060.