Director of rugby Dean Richards admitted Friday night’s 31-27 loss at Grenoble had been a learning curve for his side, as they suffered a late European Challenge Cup defeat at Stade des Alpes.
Fabrice Estebanez’s 77th minute try sealed the result in a game which saw the lead changing hands at regular intervals, the Falcons dotting down three tries via Chris Harris, Calum Green and Scott Wilson on the night.
Richards, a former Grenoble boss himself, said: “We are disappointed with the result and it is not ideal from that side of things, but at the same time it is an experience for these players which many of them will find invaluable.
“Fifteen of our match-day 23 came up through the academy, and there were a lot of youngsters out there who I thought put in a reasonable shift. Over the 80 minutes I thought we were probably the better side, but we didn’t take our chances when we had them."
Centre Harris caught the eye with a try just eight minutes into his return from a long-term ankle injury, the Falcons’ boss delighted by his contribution.
Richards said: “Chris did well, scoring on his return, and it was also nice to see Calum Green getting over for a try. Kyle Cooper did well on his debut, coming on earlier than we had envisaged due to Ben Sowrey going off, and it was great to see guys like Sean Robinson getting a start after such a long time out.
“There were lots of positives within the game but we are disappointed with the way in which we lost it at the end. The boys were sat there in the changing room contemplating why, and we will sit down and work that out over the coming days.
“But it is a learning curve for a lot of these boys, that’s the way of the world and it’s what you take out of these situations that matters.”
Newcastle’s European Challenge Cup group campaign comes to a close at Kingston Park Stadium on Saturday January 21, when group leaders Ospreys are the visitors. Tickets for the 5pm kick-of are available by calling 0871 226 6060 or clicking here.