Dean Richards found plenty of room for improvement despite his Newcastle Falcons side earning a place in the European Challenge Cup semi-finals courtesy of Friday’s 25-10 win over Brive at Kingston Park Stadium.
The director of rugby watched on as his side led 12-10 at the break, eventually scoring four tries and setting up a semi-final with either Connacht or Gloucester.
Richards admitted: “To be honest with you we didn’t play very well and, no disrespect to Brive, had we played well we would have scored a lot more points than we did. That’s the disappointing thing, and to be fair to the players they acknowledged it themselves in the changing room.
“It was a bit like after the Lord Mayor’s Show following St James’ Park last weekend, and all the effort and endeavour which had gone into that. Today we just didn’t have the accuracy, and we have to learn from that.”
Philosophical about the fact his side were still 15-point winners despite not getting out of third gear, Richards said: “In a way it’s nice to be critical of a performance after scoring four tries and having got into a European semi-final, but that’s the nature of the squad that we have got. They’re wanting to improve, and they’re realistic about the fact that if we play like we did tonight we won’t get anywhere near the Premiership play-offs.
“That wasn’t top-four Premiership form tonight, and we know that, but we’re one game away from a European final and it’s an exciting time to be involved with the club.
“There was space all over the field and we just didn’t exploit it, we were too flat at times, we pushed it a little bit and had we realised that a little bit more depth was needed we’d have been able to get in behind and play. Certain moves and plays would have had a far better outcome had we had that extra depth, and we will learn from that.
“Our endeavour has carried us through some tight games and it’s not a bad quality to have, but you have to couple it with a level of accuracy which we just didn’t show this evening. The beauty is we know what needs to be done, and we’ll sort it out.”