Richards Pleased With Second Half Consistency

Sunday 20 December 2015

Richards delighted with second half triumph, but believes there's still room for Falcons improvement.

Dean Richards admitted it was not the perfect performance, but took a great degree of delight from Newcastle Falcons' 29-5 home triumph over Connacht.

Tied 5-5 at half-time before scoring 24 unanswered second-half points, the director of rugby said: “I was a little bit disappointed to be where we were at the interval.

“We had a bit of a rethink about it and, to be fair to Connacht, they slowed down our ball quite well at the breakdown. Once we sorted that out and the game flowed a little bit more, it started to happen for us.

“Part of the problem up until that point was that we were were unable to get that continuity because their breakdown work was better than ours. When we managed to fix that the gaps began to appear, and in that respect we were pleased that we identified the problem, reacted to it and solved it to get the result.”

Happy that his side had reined in the cheap penalties which proved costly during the away leg in Galway nine days earlier, Richards said: “Our discipline was much better today in not giving away silly penalties.

“We had spoken about it as a group during the week, and that discipline is key to us winning. We conceded a lot of penalties during the opening game of the season and that followed us for a number of weeks. Now we're on a more even keel and we have sorted ourselves out on that. We are more competitive as a result.

“In some respects it was our best performance of the year. I think we are getting better every week, and the fact we are now creating and finishing opportunities speaks volumes for the style of play. We just have to do it more consistently.”

Blowing the European Challenge Cup pool wide open as the Falcons now sit level with second-placed Brive and within shooting distance of leaders Connacht, Richards added: “They're all big games now when we go to Russia and host Brive here next month.

“We were disappointed not to come away with anything in Ireland because we made eleven line breaks to Connacht's two, which gives you an indication of the chances we created. That was disappointing but we knew there were going to be chances today and we managed to take them.

“We can now take this confidence into the Premiership, and there were a lot of strong performers. I thought Alex Rogers, Sean Robinson and a number of others really stepped up. We scored a number of tries and that is massive, because we knew we could create the opportunities.

“There's a lot of pace in the back line, and I thought Belisario Agulla played well. Chris Harris in the first half was effective and when Juan Pablo Socino came on he did what he had not been doing in the first few games of the season. He seems to have got the bit between his teeth and I thought he played well when he came on.”

For Dean Richards' video interview with Falcons TV click here.

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