Director of Dean Richards taking in the game

Richards praises Falcons following frustrating opener

Sunday 7 September 2014

Director of Rugby Dean Richards praised the effort of his Newcastle Falcons side after a frustrating Aviva Premiership season opener at Welford Road.

Newcastle Falcons Director of Rugby Dean Richards praised the effort of his side after Saturday’s 36 – 17 loss at Welford Road but was left frustrated by officiating throughout the game.

Speaking after the game, Richards said: “It was frustrating on the day because the boys did well, but we got absolutely nothing from the referee who made life difficult.”

“It is interesting you go to a referees' conference and they talk about decisions having a material impact on the game, and today I thought some of the decisions had a massive effect.

The visitors started the game strongly, trailing by only nine points at half time and showcasing their attacking prowess in the second half with a try apiece from Richard Mayhew and Andy Saul. But repeated penalties at the scrum took the game increasingly further from the Falcons’ reach and the home side wrapped the game up late on when an offside from Tom Young’s led to a third Vereniki Goneva try.

“None of them went in our favour, and we are disappointed but we will have a look at ourselves, and hopefully the officials will do the same.

“We didn't get the just rewards at certain times, and that disappointed us but I thought we fronted up; we moved the ball around well and showed some incision at times, but there was a definite frustration there which was borne out of us not finishing off the opportunities we did get.

“The referee was a problem too but there’s nothing we can do about that. However we’re already looking at the three or four opportunities we missed and looking towards next week when we have to go out there and take those opportunities.”

Despite Richards’ obvious frustrations, there were many positives to take from yesterday’s performance, not least the Premiership debuts of Simon Hammersley and Juan Pablo Socino.

Argentine Socino provided a constant attacking threat for the Falcons whilst also employing a kicking accuracy which saw him collect seven of the Falcons’ 17 points while recent Durham University graduate Hammersley continued to impress on his first appearance in the top flight, not least with a break that led to the first of the Falcons’ two tries.

The director of rugby commented: “Socino is a good player who really looked the part, and I was really pleased with him. The same goes for Simon.”

The two debutants weren’t alone in garnering praise, with Richards complimentary about a team that made the Tigers’ victory far from easy.

“There were a lot of good players who stepped up to the mark and there was a lot in the performance so it was disappointing not to get that platform to work from; every time we did we got penalised, and seven penalties or free kicks in the scrum when we wanted the chance to scrum properly was disappointing.

“But the boys did well today and they will get better as the season goes on.”

The Falcons’ next fixture will see them take on London Irish in their home season opener at Kingston Park on Sunday (ko 3pm). Tickets for the game are available online or from the club’s 24 hour Ticket Hotline on 0871 226 6060 starting from only £15 for adults.

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