Dean Richards made no attempt to hide his frustration as Newcastle Falcons ended the season with a 21-15 home defeat to Sale Sharks on Saturday.
Despite outscoring their visitors by three tries to two thanks to a Nili Latu hat-trick it was Sale who recorded the victory which gives them Champions Cup rugby next season, Richards admitting: “To be honest I am really, really cheesed off.
“It was the story of our season – they should have had one try disallowed and we missed two clear try-scoring opportunities.
“We scored three tries but I would have liked it to have been four or five – whether it was Nili or whoever. I am not too bothered about hat-tricks, I don’t look at things like that. For me it is about how many tries the team scores, and we left a few out there.”
The director of rugby added: “We tried a few things out there that we hadn’t tried before. We wanted to express ourselves but at the same time we wanted to win. We made a lot of unenforced errors which cost us the game, and that just typifies our season.
“People need to learn and to improve on their basic skills. It is frustrating because we are so close, we play a really good brand of rugby and we have said all year that somebody is going to cop it. Sale should have been that team today but we couldn’t finish off the job.”
Ending the campaign in 11th place, Richards said: “It has been a frustration season when you consider all the points we have missed along the road.
“We should have nailed it a long time ago and been half-way up that table near Sale. If you look at what they offered today compared to what we offered, we should have absolutely punished them. But we didn’t, and that’s what is so frustrating.”