Head coach Dave Walder credited his Newcastle Falcons young guns for creating opportunities on Friday night in London, but insisted they need to start taking them.
Beaten 24-10 at Gallagher Premiership champions Harlequins despite the home side having two men sent to the sin bin, Walder said: “We’ve just had a chat in the changing room about this – we keep saying it’s important we learn from games like tonight’s, but we can’t be saying it every week.
“We’ve got to be putting wins on the board, and when our opponent is down to 13 men we’ve got to be scoring.
“We played pretty well in terms of creating things, we just lacked a ruthless edge.
“Quins are where they are because they’re a top side – they’ve got an international 9, 10 and 12, and they play a great brand of rugby. The whole atmosphere at their ground and the way they do things is superb, and that’s where we need to be.
“I thought we negated them well at times, and played some pretty good rugby ourselves without actually finishing it off. You look at the result, and we paid the price for it.”
Enjoying territory and possession, having a try chalked off by the TMO and a claim for a penalty try denied, Walder said: “A big part of our plan was to keep the ball, for the simple reason that if we have it, they don’t have it.
“They’re a team who like to attack, and we knew that would frustrate them, but we just needed to take a couple of opportunities and put them under scoreboard pressure as well as territory and possession pressure.
“It was questionable whether we should have had a penalty try when Danny Care got sin-binned. To have that happen a yard from the try-line and not get the seven points when he’s stopped an offload – it is what it is, it didn’t go our way and we’ve just got to deal with that.
“We also made a couple of poor decisions, and away against the champions we just conceded some tries which were too soft.”
Crediting his side for their efforts, he added: “Will Haydon-Wood was incredibly close to getting a try in the second half, which was ruled out by the TMO, but I thought Will had a good game overall.
“I don’t think he was expecting the ball, to be honest. Quins had a back-rower defending in the back line on the other side of the scrum so we should probably have gone the other way, but we’ll look at the video and take the learnings from that.
“It all happens in the heat of the moment and it’s an easy game from the stands, but on the whole I thought Will put in a good shift. He put us into some good areas, and we just couldn’t quite see it out. He’s quick, he’s got good footwork and he’s becoming a really tidy player.
“It was also lovely to see Tom Marshall getting over for a try on his Premiership debut. It’s been a long time since he last had a playing opportunity, and he’s come in and started away against the champions live on national TV. He did really well, and to see hm getting a try was a great moment.
“Freddie Lockwood, too, I thought came in and made an impact, and it’s always pleasing to see your homegrown guys coming in and doing well. We’re a young team, and we’re going to learn from it.”
Newcastle Falcons’ next game is on Saturday March 12 when they host Saracens. Tickets for the 3pm kick-off at Kingston Park Stadium are on sale now by clicking here.