Dean Richards says Newcastle Falcons had victory in their grasp at Bath
Dean Richards admitted Newcastle Falcons were the architects of their own downfall during Friday night’s 21-19 Aviva Premiership loss to Bath.
A pair of penalties in the closing stages sealed a game which the Falcons had looked to be dominating, their director of rugby saying: “We are disappointed by the outcome, and in some respects we shot ourselves in the foot.
“We had the chances to score tries and take points, and we didn’t achieve what we set out to do on either of those, whether it be converting our kicks, driving them over or scoring tries when we had the opportunities. We probably left 16 to 18 points out there.
“Having said that, with a minute to go when we went down the short-side off a scrum, they were so far offside it was unbelievable. The referee just waved play on, and you know at that point is not your day. Up until that point he had done well I thought, but you have to be consistent in those last five minutes, and I thought he lost that.”
Adamant his squad are aware of the areas for improvement, the director of rugby added: “It is frustrating from the players’ perspective because they had done enough to be in a position to win it, and they were kicking themselves in the changing room. They know where they went wrong, they will be there next week trying to put it right, and it is that understanding of how to put it right which is the big thing.
Richards had no issue with the television match officials’ decision to deny George McGuigan a first-half try from a move at the front of a close-range line-out, saying: “The try that wasn’t given from the line-out wasn’t a try. No problem with that call, and if anything I would ask the question as to why we went round the front of the line-out from that position when we had already scored from a driving line-out. Why change it?
“But we will get there. It is coming, and we are starting to have a selection issue because people are holding their hands up and saying ‘pick me’.
“We appear to be getting more right than wrong without actually winning, but it is all about that result when you take the field. You get into a habit, that is what we want to get back and we have dropped off a little bit in that regard.”
Preparing now for the Easter Sunday visit of Wasps, Richards said: “They are a top side with quality written all over them, and they will get all their England boys back as well so it will be a very difficult game. But our boys are going well at the moment, we are putting the effort in and we just need to tighten the screw a little bit when we have those opportunities.
“Other than losing by a point or two to Worcester our home record has been pretty good this year, and we have to get that back on track against Wasps.”