Falcons Director of Rugby Dean Richards was left disappointed as his team walked away from the AJ Bell Stadium with just a single bonus point following a 34-28 loss to Sale Sharks.
Dean Richards admitted defensive shortcomings were once again the downfall of Newcastle Falcons, having fallen 34-28 at Sale Sharks on Saturday.
The penultimate match of the Aviva Premiership delivered eight tries in total, five scored by Sale as the Falcons were consigned to consecutive second-bottom finishes. The director of rugby said: “We have a habit of giving teams a head start, giving too many easy tries away, and it comes back to haunt us.
“We should have scored two or three more tries but our finishing was not as good as it has been. “Our accuracy in the line-out wasn't there and as a consequence we lost the game.”
Highlighting a scrappy end-of-season encounter, Richards added: “It was very stop-start. There was no fluidity to the game and their tries were just very easy gimmes. That has haunted us all season and we need to cut it out.
“The odd thing is that you play so badly and yet you can still win. We had that chance at six points down in the last few minutes. “We have a great shape to our game and we were in that position to win. Perhaps because the boys aren't used to winning they couldn't go out there and do it. It was the same as last week at Gloucester.”
Determined to end the season by beating Harlequins at Kingston Park on Saturday and looking ahead to the 2015/16 campaign, the Falcons' boss said: “It is frustration more than anything.
“We have done so many good things this year and created so many opportunities.
“I just think if the boys had a little bit more confidence in themselves and executed certain things with a tighter defence, we would be sixth or seventh with the quality of play. “But we haven't, and we have to work at it. “There is a huge amount of optimism for next season, especially with the quality of the people coming in.”
Reporting no major injury news other than the late departure of Sinoti Sinoti with a head knock, he said: “Sinoti took a bang to the head so we will see how he goes, but there was nothing too serious outside of that.”
The Falcons' final game of the season will see them face Harlequins at Kingston Park this Saturday, 16th May at 3.30pm. Tickets for the game are available to buy online, in person from the Kingston Park Box Office or by calling the Falcons' 24 hour Ticket Hotline on 0871 226 6060.