Richards frustrated by Welford Road loss

Sunday 28 March 2021

Director of rugby Dean Richards did not hide his frustration following Newcastle Falcons’ 26-12 loss at Leicester Tigers on Sunday.

Speaking after the Gallagher Premiership contest, Richards admitted that a number of decisions had left players and coaches seeking answers.

Having matched Leicester’s try count with two apiece – four George Ford penalties proving the difference - the Falcons boss said: “The players came in at half-time and felt that there must have been a pre-conception about how they were going to referee the scrum.

“There was a question mark among the boys as to whether there had been conversation among the refereeing department before the game with regards who was going to be at fault for infringing.

“I don’t know whether there was a conversation before the game in the refereeing department or not, but certainly from our players’ perspective they felt as if that was the case.

“We’ll look at the decisions and assess them, as we do after every game, and if you look at our previous two games you can understand why someone might come into today with a subconscious viewpoint on how to referee the game.

“Having said that, you still have to referee what you see in front of you, and I didn’t think there was that consistency today that you would want.

“You’ll accept one or two penalties in any game but you’ve got to have that consistency all the way through, and we didn’t feel we got that today.”

Asked whether – officiating aside – his players had been good enough to emerge victorious, Richards said: “We didn’t necessarily have the accuracy to win the game, but you’ve got to be given the opportunity.

“There are times when you’re taken back 60 or 70 metres by a couple of things that we didn’t feel were quite right, although when we did finally have the possession in the second half we weren’t always as accurate as we needed to be.”

Asked specifically about the first-half incident which saw Jon Welsh leaving the field with injury in his comeback game, Richards said: “We’ll be seeking clarity on whether or not that would be construed as being foul play – coming in from the side and hitting someone without the ball when he’s at his most vulnerable, and then tipping him.

“The end result is that he’s disclocated his shoulder and he’s had to go to A&E, so we’ll be seeking some clarification around it, as well as why you can’t come back to that and look at it more closely.”

Also asked about the nine-week ban handed out this week to Mateo Carreras this week, the director of rugby added: “I’ve spoken to Mateo a lot about it, and he’s bitterly disappointed because it was never his intention to hurt anybody.

“The act was deemed deliberate and he’s admitted to that, and it’s a spur-of-the-moment action which he’s very disappointed by.

“Sadly a finger caught the eye and a big deal has been made of it, but having spoken to Mateo about it he is very upset and apologetic about the whole thing.”

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