Flood and Richards react to French defeat

Saturday 12 January 2019

Captain Toby Flood says Newcastle Falcons will take the lessons from Saturday's defeat in Montpellier, his side beaten 45-8 in the Heineken Champions Cup.

Trailing 12-3 at the midway stage, Flood said: "Our mantra going into the game was that we wanted to be fast and loose, because Montpellier have a lot of big players.

"It wasn't so much defensive errors, it was more errors with ball in hand when we were attacking, and I can't really criticise because I turned one over myself.

"There were four or five breakdown errors where they kicked to the corner, they came from our silly mistakes and it was a collective thing as a team rather than one or two players.

"It was us not being able to execute in attack, them kicking a penalty 40 yards into the corner and once they get there they are difficult to stop. They're big guys and they're very good at what they do.

"It was a lesson in how to squeeze a team, and how to execute under pressure when it's really important."

The fly-half added: "As strange as it may sound there are a lot of young lads in our dressing room who will take a real leap forward in their development for having gone through this experience.

"No-one likes losing by 40-odd points, and we wanted to come here and win, but the reality is if you don't learn from the hard times then you never learn. You just have to take it, wear it, understand how it happened and then what you can do to avoid it in the future.

"When they're bringing on guys like Oudreago and Willemse from the bench - that's not me looking across enviously, that's just the reality of what having a huge budget gets you.

"We did some decent work and looked like we were one or two rucks away from breaking them on a couple of occasions, but we just didn't execute. They're big guys and we moved them around, but we need to get better at it."

Welcoming Toulon in their final group game ths Friday, Flood said: "When times are tough and you get a team like Toulon coming over, why not just have a proper go?

"Our mind-set is to really have a crack, to be positive in what we do, and we'll see where that gets us."

Director of rugby Dean Richards echoed Flood's sentiment, saying: "Montpellier are a really good side with lots of world class players, and you've got to be on your mettle to beat them.

"We weren't quite there today, the amount of injuries we've got plays havoc with us and if you're not quite putting out your best side against a team like that then you'll come a cropper.

"We said that the best chance we had of coming here and getting a result was to play with a bit of tempo, but Montpellier did that as well and almost played us at our own game.

"It all made for a pretty entertaining first half and we were very much in the contest at that stage, but it told in the second half when we lost Simon Hammersley with an HIA and Kyle Cooper came off because he was being sick."

Looking forward to the closing game of the group stage, he added: "If we beat Toulon on Friday night then we've done the double over them home and away, and as disappointing as it will be not to go through, I think a double over Toulon would still be something to hang on to as a positive from the group stage.

Tickets are available for the 7.45pm kick-off at Kingston Park Stadium by clicking here.

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