Director of rugby Dean Richards praised the effort of his Newcastle Falcons side but rued a couple of key decisions as Gallagher Premiership champions Saracens left Kingston Park Stadium with a 32-21 triumph on Sunday.
Speaking after the final whistle of a blood-and-thunder encounter, the Falcons boss said: “The boys certainly put the effort in.
“I don’t think the results always went our way in terms of the decisions from the referee, but that’s life. Last season we got some decisions which we probably shouldn’t have done, and it’s swings and roundabouts, so you just get on with it.
“The last try of theirs was from a knock-on, there was Niki Goneva not touching down the ball and playing out from his own in-goal and I’m surprised they didn’t allow it to run its course and then review it via the TMO. Sometimes they go your way and sometimes they don’t, but two critical ones in a game that close is hard to take.”
Crediting the champions for taking their opportunities, Richards added: “Saracens are an excellent side and they’re far fitter than they were last season.
“As a consequence you’ll see a different Saracens team this season, they’ll play in a slightly different way and when you look at the number of Lions and England internationals in their side it’s pretty unbelievable.
“That said, I thought we were competitive across the board, we competed really well and I’m disappointed we didn’t at least get a losing bonus point.
“Saracens’ experience from the bench probably shone through, they closed the game out and we need to learn from that. One missed tackle in midfield enabled them to get through for what ended up as the final try, and had we made that tackle, which we ordinarily would have done, it would have been a different thing altogether.
“It’s a tough start, but it’s exciting. I love these big games, and we’re looking forward to Leicester now on Saturday.”