Richards: We stuck at it, but it wasn’t enough
NEWCASTLE Falcons director of rugby Dean Richards spoke of his frustration following Friday’s 31-13 Heineken Champions Cup defeat at Edinburgh.
The Falcons were forced to start with a loose-head prop at tight-head and no number 17 following injuries to Logovi’i Mulipola, Trevor Davison and David Wilson, which all came after Tuesday’s European registration deadline.
The Falcons had a fit and available tight-head ready to play in the form of Jack Payne and made representation to tournament organisers EPCR to get him registered given the exceptional circumstances, but the request was not granted.
Richards said: “You lose three tighthead props in the space of 24 hours, you ask for dispensation to be able to deal with it and you’re not allowed, so you have to play a loose-head on the tight.
“It’s not like a left wing playing on the right wing or an inside centre playing outside centre – there’s a safety issue there but they weren’t prepared to address it. That’s what I was particularly disappointed with.
“Sam Lockwood and Sami Mavinga did well, and I’ve got to take my hat off to them. To be 13-10 up at half-time was almost a moral victory in itself, but we knew it was always going to be a difficult second half. We’re just disappointed with how the whole issue was dealt with, but I’m proud of the guys and we have another week to turn it round before we face Edinburgh a week on Sunday at our place.”
The Falcons boss added: “We created a decent amount of opportunities but didn’t nail enough of them, and we’ll look at that ahead of next Sunday’s re-match.
“We spent a large part of the game defending, but when you haven’t got a scrum you always will do. Full credit to the boys because they stuck at it, we