Richards: Going off-script cost us in Lyon

Friday 9 December 2016

Director of rugby Dean Richards pulled no punches after Friday’s 42-12 defeat in Lyon, pointing the focus squarely on his players in the wake of the European Challenge Cup mauling.

Newcastle Falcons’ boss said: “We’re disappointed. There are boys who went off-script and did their own thing at times, and we can’t do that. We don’t have the quality of players to do it, we have to play as a team and sometimes tonight we didn’t do that.

“When we played how we want to play, and in the style we want to, we scored points. It was when we veered away from that that it came apart a little bit, and that is what disappointed me.”

It was Newcastle who grabbed the first try of the game at Matmut Stadium in the first of back-to-back clashes with the French side, Richards saying: “If we’d had a bit more accuracy, and a bit more patience with our accuracy, I’m not saying the result would have been different, but it would have been a little bit closer.

“It was a bit of an odd game in the sense that Lyon didn’t have chances for long periods of time, then when they finally did score they scored a lot of points in quick succession.

“That comes down to us in having the patience to understand exactly what they are about, and if we do concede a try just saying ‘so what, let’s get back on the horse’. We didn’t tonight, we compounded our mistakes by repeating them and that really summed up the game.”

Having changed 12 of his starting XV for the European trip, the director of rugby said: “It comes down a little bit to experience. There are a lot of boys out there who haven’t had much experience, and they will learn from this. It’s a steep learning curve, but they will look back on this.

“Lyon were probably a little bit more direct than us at times. They have got guys who can make a break, whereas some of our boys looked a little bit out of shape. A lot of boys haven’t played a lot of rugby for a long time, and it showed.

“A lot of them will start again next week when Lyon come to Kingston Park (Sunday December 18), so they have a great chance to get a bit of revenge.”

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