Richards frustrated by Sharks loss

Friday 5 March 2021

Director of rugby Dean Richards outlined his sense of frustration following Friday night’s 31-16 defeat at Sale Sharks, as the home side claimed the Gallagher Premiership’s all-northern clash.

Speaking after the game, Richards said: “We didn’t have the accuracy tonight that we would have wanted.

“We had enough chances to score enough tries but we just didn’t take them, and we have to look to ourselves as to the reasons why.

“Sale are a good side and they’re reasonably well-drilled, but we gave them a couple of early tries and it was always going to be hard from there.

“We were a little bit upset about where some of the scrum penalties came from, but that’s not the only reason why we lost the game.

“There was a potential forward pass for one of their tries which the referee didn’t look at, but again, we’ll look to ourselves and how we can improve our own performance rather than blaming that.”

Playing their second game in succession following a pair of cancellations, Richards said: “Having the two cancelled games and being unable to train for a fortnight does make it difficult because you’re not battle-hardened, and we probably got away with it to an extent last week against Harlequins.

“We were on a six-day turnaround this week, which basically meant one full training day, and it’s just not enough when you’ve missed three weeks.

“We had chances all over the place tonight, though - we just didn’t acknowledge them and take them.

“Credit to Sale, they’re a good side, but our players were frustrated by some of the scrum penalties. That’s life, though, and it’s not the reason we lost.”

On a night when a pair of Falcons youngsters made their top-flight bows, Richards said: “We had Joel Matavesi scoring on his Premiership debut and Rob Farrar making his Premiership debut, and they’re both great stories.

“That’s fantastic and it shows our pipeline is working, but we’re ultimately here to celebrate winning games rather than people making their debuts – delighted as we may be about that.

“We weren’t as good as we can be tonight, and that’s what disappoints me most.”

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