Defensive improvements draws Dean's praise

Sunday 29 November 2015

Falcons Director of Rugby reflects as Falcons take a battling draw from sodden Salford.

Dean Richards praised a much-improved defensive performance as Newcastle Falcons battled to a 15-15 draw at Sale Sharks on Saturday.

Newcastle scored the only two tries of the game on a rain-drenched afternoon in Manchester, the director of rugby saying: “I was pleased with our enthusiasm and the commitment. We made some judgement errors, but in conditions like that you are going to. Overall, I was happy."

“We knew Sale were going to offer and they are a very difficult side to beat. We had prepared well and the most pleasing thing was the way we defended.”

With the match a tight affair for the duration of the afternoon, a penalty on the stroke of full time combined with a 100% kicking display from Danny Cipriani, it looked like the Falcons would have to content themselves with a loosing bonus point.

In the event, the Sale 10 fired wide and the spoils were shared, with Richards saying of the result: “You could say it was two points won or two points lost."

“Lots of people might say it was two points lost and that is disappointing in some respects, but when you bear in mind the conditions and the fact we scored two tries without conceding any, I was pleased."

“There are mixed emotions in the changing rooms at not getting the four points but still putting two on the board. I am pleased that the boys feel that disappointment, but there was plenty of good stuff within that performance."

“Sean Robinson was outstanding, as were the whole front-row. Will Welch showed he is back to his best and it is nice to have Mark Wilson back in there with his incredible work rate. On the whole I was pleased.”

The Falcons boss also praised the impact of his bench, adding: “Our kicking game went a little bit awry for 15 to 20 minutes at the start of the second half. It was actually when we decided to play a little bit more rugby that we eventually sorted it out. Chris Harris coming on made a big difference.”

Braced for a stern test at home to the Premiership champions on Sunday, Richards said: “Saracens will be a difficult challenge, but the boys are up for it. They have already put the two points at Sale to bed and are looking forward. You want to pit your wits against the best, and they are the best at this moment in time.”

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