No.8 Nili Latu admits his Newcastle Falcons team ‘went missing’ during the final quarter of Friday’s Aviva Premiership victory over London Irish.
A late rally from the Exiles’ narrowed the winning margin to 29-17 as the Falcons climbed to the top of the table, Latu saying: “The changing room wasn’t a happy one because we basically went missing for the last 20 minutes. We went off-script, and it’s taken the shine off what had been shaping up to be a very positive performance.
“It’s not the way we wanted to finish but the pleasing thing was getting the five points. We’ll regroup on Monday because this was far from what we wanted from the performance, and we know we have to improve with going down to Exeter next weekend.
“London Irish came back at us, and moving forward we need to work on that. It was a pretty unhappy changing room after the game because the boys know we let our standards drop, but we are hard workers and everything is now on bringing our A-game down to Exeter. We can’t afford to go AWOL for 20 minutes but when we stick to our game plan we look really good.”
Putting in another bone-crunching display of his trademark physicality, Tonga’s most-capped player said: “This my third season here and we’ve improved with every one.
“There’s an enormous drive here with quality players coming through, and I really believe this is our time. It’s such a positive environment to be in but it’s only five rounds out of 22, and we have to keep some perspective.
“We laid a great platform in pre-season and we’re a team who works for each other. We’ve added some great players, we backed ourselves and who knows where it will end up?
“All I know is I’m excited by the challenge, and grateful to be part of this journey.”