Dean Richards offered a blunt assessment of Saturday’s 38-17 home defeat to Harlequins, with a first-half points deluge giving his Newcastle Falcons side far too much to do.
The director of rugby, whose side trailed 28-3 at the interval, said: “We just didn’t turn up, we gifted them three tries and we were chasing the game.
“Their first try round the front of the line-out, we’d practiced defending that all week in training but someone stepped into the wrong place, and they scored another two from interception turnovers.
“It could have been so different if our boys had been switched on.
“Although we hadn’t been winning our recent games we had at least been creating scoring opportunities, but today the boys just didn’t turn up.”
Taking the second half 14-10 offered zero comfort for Richards, who said: “You try and take stock at half-time, but even then we went out and conceded a try after four or five minutes of the second period.
“We made a little bit of a comeback after that but it was far too late, because of what had happened in that first 15 to 20 minutes.”
Moving into European and then domestic cup competition over the next month, the Falcons boss said: “We’ve got a bit of a break from the Premiership now, and our injury list has been tough to cope with.
“We’ve had probably six or seven of what would be in contention to be our starting pack missing through injury today, with guys like Sam Lockwood, George McGuigan, Jon Welsh, Sean Robinson, John Hardie, Mark Wilson and Nemani Nagusa all out.
“In the backs we were missing guys like Toby Flood, Sinoti Sinoti, Johnny Williams and Joel Hodgson, and any team would feel it when you have so many of your front-line guys not available.”
Newcastle Falcons’ next home game is on Friday January 18 when Toulon are the Heineken Champions Cup visitors to Kingston Park Stadium. Tickets for the 7.45pm kick-off are available by clicking here.