Academy manager Mark Laycock admitted there were mixed emotions following Monday night’s 31-29 A-League defeat at Leicester Tigers.
Newcastle’s second string battled back from 22-0 down to lead 28-29 going into the final minute, only to be sunk by a penalty with the very last kick of the game.
Laycock, whose side picked up a pair of bonus points thanks to scores from Zach Kibirige (2), Craig Willis, Adam Radwan and Joe Sproston, said: “Away at Leicester to come back with two bonus points is not a bad return, especially considering we were 19-0 down at half-time.
“It was obviously disappointing to have lost at the end against Leicester for the second time in two days, but we took it to the wire and there is plenty to build on.
“There are clearly some lessons about how we close out tight games away from home, but overall we were pleased with the second-half performance and the self-belief among the squad going forward. Because it is a league game they could end up being two important points for us.”
Giving themselves a mountain to climb after a slow start, Laycock said: “Two of their tries came from our mistakes when we kicked the ball out on the full, they were winning scrum penalties for fun in the first 20 minutes and in the last 15 minutes of the first half we actually had some good possession in their 22. We didn’t convert it, but in the second half we were a totally different team.
“We were 19-0 down at half-time and they hit a couple of further penalties, but we put ourselves 29-28 ahead going into the final minute, scoring five tries to their three. They were all good attacking tries, a couple for Zach from little chip-throughs, and Adam Radwan scored from a 60-metre break. Josh Chisanga had a barrelling run down the field where he knocked over five or six players as if they were skittles, which was unreal, and despite the defeat there was a lot of good rugby played.”
The Falcons Development Team are next in action when they travel to Worcester on Monday October 3.