Director of rugby Dean Richards admitted his Newcastle Falcons side were short on accuracy at certain points during Saturday’s 29-7 Aviva Premiership defeat to Saracens, but never on effort.
Five Owen Farrell penalties and a controversial penalty try proved the difference in Philadelphia, Richards saying: “There was a lot of endeavour but we lacked a bit of accuracy at times, and I didn’t think we got the rub of the green from the referee.
“Sometimes you’ve got to earn the right but little things like Niki Goneva’s alleged deliberate knock-on, which actually came off his face, you’d have thought he’d have gone to the TMO to review something so clear. That can cost you dear, and little things like the lack of a review of the kick which was awarded to Saracens but actually went wide. That was given by the assistant referees, and little things like that can really count against you at the end of a game.
“I was disappointed by his inaccuracy, but at the same time you’ve got to earn the right to get these decisions. We’re not quite there yet, and you look at some of the Saracens boys who seem to be able to get away with a lot more than our boys. That’s just purely down to where they are and who they are, but we’ll get there and will work hard on it.”
Crediting the European champions for an efficient performance, Richards said: “We knew what they were going to do. They play predominantly off nine inside their own half and have a really good kick-chase.
“We didn’t deal with that particularly well, and Saracens overall deserved to win it because they were the better team.”
Happy at least to have had the experience of time in the USA as a squad, the Falcons boss added: “There have been an awful lot of positives to have taken from the week and it has been really good from the players’ perspective. We probably deserved something out of the day, but alas it wasn’t to be.
“It was incredibly warm out there and it probably wasn’t as fluid a game as everybody would have wanted. Having said that, the intensity was there, and there were some massive hits going in. I think the American audience love that side of the game, and they certainly saw a gladiatorial contest.
“From our side of things it was very good for the playing department to get the guys over here together as a group, and I’d do it again if we got the chance. We’re a tight-knit club anyway and the players get on very well with one another, but this has just made them that little bit tighter.”
Newcastle Falcons’ next home game is the Aviva Premiership visit of London Irish on Friday September 29. Click here to buy tickets.