Director of rugby Dean Richards was pleased with the spirit of his Newcastle Falcons side but felt they ‘left a few tries out there’ during Friday night’s 24-17 home loss to Gallagher Premiership leaders Exeter Chiefs.
The Falcons became the first team this season to take a losing bonus point from the unbeaten table-toppers and the first side to stop the Chiefs achieving a four-try bonus of their own, Richards saying: “It’s disappointing not to have won the game but Exeter are a very well-drilled side who are outstanding at executing what they do.
“They’re a very accurate team, they make few errors and they probably had the same number of chances as we did. The difference was that they took more of theirs, hence why they won the game.”
The Falcons boss added: “Exeter know they’ve been in a game tonight, but it’s a frustrating one from our side.
“I don’t know how the scrums are being refereed half the time, we were bewildered as to how people can make decisions from 50 metres away, which is a bit bizarre, but there you go. There were some very strange decisions from a scrummaging point of view, and we found it difficult to react from the change in refereeing style from last week at Worcester.
“Last week under Wayne Barnes we were allowed to compete at the breakdown, and tonight you just had no chance of competing. It was almost like playing a game of touch rugby in some respects. All you want is consistency, and you don’t get that from week to week, which is disappointing. Having said that, we need to react better than we did on the night.”
Praising his wingers, Richards said: “Zach Kibirige took his try well, and then on the other wing I thought Tom Arscott’s inside ball for Johnny Williams’ try was a great piece of play. We took our tries well but there were more out there that went begging, and we missed a couple of line-outs at critical times. That cost us.
“A little bit more accuracy at key times would have made a big difference but there’s a huge resolve within the camp not to lie down, and we were disappointed to only get a bonus point.”
Newcastle are next in action on Friday night when Wasps visit Kingston Park Stadium. Book your tickets by clicking here.