Dean Richards was left to a rue a slow start by the Newcastle Falcons on Sunday as the team fell 35-10 to reigning champions Northampton Saints.
In a 30 minute spell, the Saints showed a ruthless effectiveness as they seized on Falcons errors and converted chances they created themselves, to lead 28 – 3 at half time with Richards citing his team’s execution of exit strategies as a key factor in the Saints runaway scoring.
"Our exits weren't great, we didn't carry through what we said we would and our work-rate in that first 30 was woeful. Northampton are a good side but, as we showed in that final 50 minutes, if you are accurate and make your tackles we are a match for them."
“We didn't have the confidence that we could go out and beat Northampton in that first half-hour, and when they eventually found it they were more than a match for them.”
Following a regrouping in the changing rooms at half time, the Falcons emerged to deliver a much improved performance in the second period, scoring one try and losing out on others through excellent Saints defence, which pleased the Newcastle boss.
“The boys sat down at half-time, discussed it and said let's take something out of the game and you could see that in the way we played during the second half, and it is just a bit of belief."
“Northampton certainly didn’t take their foot off the gas as they wanted that fourth try bonus point, so we can take heart from the second 40. We have seen over the last few weeks that when we have a go we are not a bad side.”
With the team now heading to Wasps for looking for their opening win of the season, Richards is hopeful on Sunday’s second half showing, his charges will use the Northampton game as a confidence boost.
“We’ve lost three games but we have shown much in the way of improvement and it will be important to use the confidence from Sunday’s second half to prepare for Wasps.”
Asked if this would be difficult with the club on a long losing streak, the Director of Rugby responded: “What needs to be understood is it’s a different team to last year, with a different make up with new players and new coaches so whilst the number of losses in a row makes an attention grabbing figure, it is a bit of a misnomer."
"The boys are frustrated with what’s happened today and last week with missed chances but they have shown glimpses of what they can do and we’ll be looking to do a lot more of that this weekend against Wasps"