Richards slams 'unacceptable' performance

Saturday 25 March 2017

Director of rugby Dean Richards made no attempt to hide his anger following Saturday’s 53-17 loss at Harlequins.

The Falcons’ 17-year wait for a league win at the Twickenham Stoop was extended by another season despite having taken an early lead through Sonatane Takulua’s try, the Londoners going on to build a convincing margin of victory in a dominant display.

Richards, a former Harlequins boss himself, said: “There was very little cohesion there, guys were just doing their own thing and it was completely unacceptable.

“Against a Quins side which was on fire we didn’t play with the unity we needed to, we didn’t do what we had talked about prior to the game and it was incredibly disappointing.

“Harlequins are a good side but when you look at their tries, all but two of them came from our mistakes. That’s the disappointing thing, the fact we gifted them so many points, and they didn’t have to work hard for them at all.”

The result deals a major blow to Newcastle’s hopes of a top-half finish, Richards saying: “You’ve got to take it one game at a time.

“Everyone is looking at that opportunity to get into the top six and the Champions Cup, but you’ve got to put that to one side and just play the team in front of you. None of these games are easy and none are a given, but we might look back and say this was the wake-up call the boys needed.”

The Falcons have to wait until Friday April 7 for their next match action when Gloucester are the Premiership visitors to Kingston Park Stadium, Richards saying: “To be honest with you I’d sooner get straight back into it rather than have a free weekend.

“The boys didn’t produce the goods at all today and they will be really hurting from that. There’s nothing better than going out there the following week and putting it right, but we’ll have to wait a little longer now for that opportunity.”

Captain Will Welch echoed Richards’ disappointment, saying: “It was a dreadful performance.

“We are a much better team than that but you’ve got to produce it on the day, and we didn’t. We didn’t play anything like how we’d prepared, it’s a hard lesson to take and we have to be honest about how bad a performance it was. We’re capable of so much better.”

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