Richards reacts to Wasps loss

Saturday 26 March 2022

Dean Richards admitted to familiar frustrations following Saturday’s 27-24 defeat at Wasps, but credited his Newcastle Falcons young guns for much of their work.

A see-saw Gallagher Premiership battle at Coventry Building Society Arena was decided by a Jimmy Gopperth penalty three minutes from time, despite visiting hooker George McGuigan having scored a hat-trick for the Falcons.

“It’s a game we could and should have won – and we’ve had a few of those in the last few weeks,” said the director of rugby.

“Their side on paper is a hell of a team, and it’s still a game we should have won. We created more opportunities but they were more clinical in taking theirs, and it’s obviously disappointing for the boys.

“There’s no hair-dryer treatment or anything like that from me, and it wouldn’t be right to do that because for the most part I thought we actually played well.

“There were a few poor decisions at key times from us, like playing on with the last play of the first half rather than kicking it off at 17-7 up. That’s life, and the guys will learn from it, but I’m not going to get cross with the players after all the effort they put in today.”

Richards added: “We maybe tried to force things a little bit at times, but that’s the exuberance of youth. You’ve got to accept that to a certain extent, and I think we’ve got a great crop of youngsters. We had 16 or 17 through the academy today, and you’ve got to be proud of those boys.

“I know it’s hard to take when we’ve lost another game late on, and we all share our supporters’ frustrations, but I’m sure people could look at that performance and understand we had a young group who put up a great effort against a very good side.

“We’ve come out in public and said we’re going to stick with the academy boys, and that’s what we’ll carry on doing.

“Our contact work was really good today, we took the game to Wasps physically and didn’t necessarily get the rewards. You can say some of the refereeing decisions were questionable, but if anyone understands the dark arts of the scrum then they’re a better man than me.”

Hit again by injuries in a week which sees them playing three away games in the space of eight days, Richards said: “It’s tough at the moment having so many guys out in the back row, and then losing a key man like Callum Chick after only ten minutes was a further blow.

“We also lost Matias Orlando during the warm-up with a calf injury so we had no outside-back cover to come on during the game, and we’re in a run of three away matches in eight days.

“We’re working hard to put out a side for Wednesday’s cup game at Northampton, but we’ve lost another couple of guys today and are being sorely tested in some positions.

“A few of the coaching staff haven’t officially retired so they might have to bring their boots down to Franklin’s Gardens, but as always we’ll do our best and give it a good go.”

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