Sam Lockwood takes contact

Euro frustration for Deano

Friday 20 April 2018

Director of rugby Dean Richards admitted Newcastle Falcons had been second best on the night as they suffered a 33-12 defeat to Gloucester in Friday’s European Challenge Cup semi-final at Kingsholm.

Two Scott Lawson tries and a conversion from Joel Hodgson provided the Falcons’ points, Richards saying afterwards: “Gloucester are a good side, and the thing about playing against a good side is that you have to take your chances when they come.

“We didn’t do that tonight, we weren’t accurate with a lot of what we did and we turned a lot of ball over. We weren’t accurate enough in the contact area, and when you combine all of those things you’re not going to beat a good side like Gloucester.”

Taking the lead through Lawson’s first try, the Falcons trailed at the interval after conceding with the very last play of the half.

“Giving away the try just before half-time was a blow but we were still in the game, and even with 20 minutes to go we were still in the contest,” said Richards.

“We just turned the ball over at the wrong times – not that there’s a right time - and we gave away penalties at critical times. We can argue over the rights and wrongs of those penalty decisions but the fact is they were given, and it was our own inaccuracy which put us in that position.”

Aiming to build on their fourth-placed position in the Aviva Premiership now as they head to Leicester Tigers on Friday, the Newcastle boss added: “We’ve lost two cup semi-finals now which is obviously disappointing, but we’re looking to the next game. That means a huge game at Leicester on Friday night, and I say that purely because it’s the next game.

“There’s no extra importance on it from a personal point of view – I haven’t been at Leicester for the last 15 years so it’s irrelevant in terms of attaching any additional significance to it in that sense. It’s just another big game that we’ll work hard to try and win, and they’re playing well at the moment despite having lost the derby to Northampton.

“It will be tough down there and we have to play better than we did tonight, but we’ve got quality players and I have every belief we can bounce back.

“We’re going in the right direction when you take the season as a whole, we finished eighth last season and hopefully we’ll be nowhere near that after the next two games. To achieve that we have to do a bit better than we did tonight, but our objective every year remains just to improve on where we were the year before. We seem to be doing that, but it’s just frustrating on nights like tonight.”

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