Dean Richards found plenty of room for improvement despite his Newcastle Falcons side running our 43-14 winners in Saturday’s Championship Cup trip to Doncaster Knights.
In doing so they secured a home quarter-final with one group game to spare, George Wacokecoke’s hat-trick helping them along the way.
“It was a scrappy old game to be honest with you, and I didn’t think we played particularly well,” said the director of rugby, whose team led 17-7 at half-time.
“The boys came off the field at the end thinking it was one of those games where if we’d really turned it on we could have put on another load of points, but fair dues to Doncaster because they put up a hell of a fight.
“I don’t think the score-line reflected how the game went, and the margin should have been much closer because Doncaster acquitted themselves far better than you’d think when you see a score of 43-14 against them.
“So yeah, we feel a bit disappointed about things, but on the same token we’re delighted to have at least got the win and the bonus point.”
On Wacokecoke’s hat-trick, which takes his tally for the season to eight tries in nine games, Richards said: “George has been the find of the season and has gone really, really well for us.
“I’m delighted with what he has brought to the side, especially when we picked him on the wing and he’s probably more of a centre.
“In addition there were guys like Ben Stevenson and Tom Penny who came in and contributed well despite not having played a huge amount of rugby, but we just didn’t get into the flow of it as much as we would have hoped.
“Credit in part for that must go to Doncaster, because they upset the apple cart at times.
“We didn’t get much ball in the first half, and when we did we didn’t do that much with it.
“In the second half we knew we had to raise the tempo in terms of defence just to put them under a little more pressure, and when we did that we got results from it.
“The nice thing is that a lot of boys who needed some rugby got it today, and it didn’t have a negative impact on the result.”
Completing the pool stage this coming Saturday with a 2pm kick-off against Jersey Reds at Kingston Park Stadium, the Falcons boss said: “We now have a big game against Jersey which could be vital in securing a top one or two seeding, which could have an impact on getting home advantage for the latter rounds if we manage to progress past the quarter-final stage.
“We’ve not had too much from an injury point of view from today’s game, so hopefully we can go in with a strong squad against Jersey.”
Tickets for Saturday’s 2pm kick-off at Kingston Park Stadium are available by clicking here, calling 0871 226 6060 or by visiting the ticket office in person.