Dean Richards gives his thoughts on his team's Aviva Premiership victory at home to Harlequins.
Dean Richards praised the resolve of his Newcastle Falcons side after battling back for a 26-19 home victory over Harlequins on Sunday, but admitted they had almost thrown it away.
Leading 10-0 on 38 minutes but trailing 19-10 on the hour mark, it took a match-winning try from Rob Vickers and 11 points from the boot of super-sub Andy Goode to seal a memorable Aviva Premiership triumph.
The Director of Rugby said: “We had 15 minutes of brainless rugby which brought them back into the game, and without that 15 minutes we would have been fine.
“We were frustrated to have conceded a try just before half time through a missed tackle, then just after the break they went round us from the kick off. We needed a little bit more width, and to understand that, and we need to cater for every eventuality.
“We knew what we wanted to do from the kick off, but it is making sure we do it in the way that we need to. Those tries caused us a few problems, but the boys came back very well.”
On Vickers' winner, a typical poacher's pick-and-go from close range, Richards said: “The backs were never going to get that ball at the end, and when we do pick-and-go like that we're pretty effective.
“Having the patience to do it is the main thing because eventually they will run out of defenders.
“That is what happened in the end, and Bobby Vickers loves it. Scoring from three inches is his forte, and he was sat in the changing room with a huge smile on his face. It's not as if he's run 60 metres!”
On the contribution of Goode, who slotted three from three penalties to draw the sides level, the Falcons' boss added: “Andy changes things and is assured in everything he does.
“That is the value of experience, and people listen to him. When you have done what he has done in the game people take note, and invariably the decisions he makes are the right ones.
“To have someone like him to come off the bench was outstanding.”
Keen to kick on from a result which lifted Newcastle from the foot of the table, Richards said: “We haven't given these supporters too much to shout about in the league, but we have a huge 10 week block now during which we will get ourselves sorted out.
“We will get quite a few boys back from injury as well, and if you think about it we have two international Tightheads, two international Locks, two international Centres, an international Fly Half and two international Wingers all injured.
“There is quite a bit of experience and x-factor to come back in, and the next few weeks are vital.
“It was a great weekend for us but we are looking forward now, and when you have Wasps, Leicester and Northampton around the corner you know it is not going to be easy. We certainly need one, if not two of those. Ideally all three!”
To watch a full Falcons TV interview with Dean Richards click here.
The Falcons are next in action away to Wasps next Saturday before returning home to face Leicester Tigers at Kingston Park Stadium the following Friday. For more information on that match click here.