Richards reacts to Bristol loss

Saturday 5 February 2022

Dean Richards was left to rue missed opportunities following Newcastle Falcons’ 37-21 defeat at Bristol Bears on Saturday.

The visitors scored three tries in the Gallagher Premiership clash at Ashton Gate but failed to register any bonus points, despite creating a multitude of opportunities.

“It was almost a game of two halves,” said the director of rugby, whose side trailed 28-14 at half time.

“We gave them a decent start to begin with, and you’re always chasing the game once you’ve done that.

“We had enough opportunities in the second half to seal the win, which we didn’t always take, and that was the frustrating thing.

“At the same time the lads showed a huge amount of resolve to come back into the game, and to get ourselves into a position whereby it was still there to play for towards the end.

“There were a couple of bonus points there for us if we’d managed to string it together, and had we got a try at that point I’d have backed us to kick on and win it.”

Richards added: “In the last ten minutes of the first half we played some really good rugby, and with the last play we got that penalty try as well as two of their guys going to the sin bin on the back of that pressure.

“We were in the right areas later on in the game and we had the opportunity to score those tries, but we just didn’t take them.”

Remaining committed to the homegrown route, the Falcons boss said: “We started off with 14 academy players in the 23, either current or former, and had something like 18 or 19 English-qualified players in our 23.

“From that side of things we’re not going to stop doing it, because playing our academy boys and giving the youngsters a chance is the path we’ve committed to going down.

“We just need to make sure we hone our skills and take our chances when they come, but I thought the younger guys like Will Haydon-Wood and Cam Kelemeti actually did well out there.”

Having to wait a fortnight until their next game against Exeter Chiefs, he added: “We’ve got a bye weekend coming up so the boys will be given a little time away, albeit with strength and conditioning programmes to keep on top of.

“We’ve then got back-to-back home games against Exeter and Bath once we’re back in, and those home dates are massive opportunity for us. I’m looking forward to both of those games, and playing in front of our Kingston Park crowd will be outstanding for the boys.”

Tickets for the Falcons’ next home game against Exeter Chiefs on Sunday February 20 are available by clicking here.

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