Richards: We stuck at it, but it wasn’t enough

Sunday Sun - - Rugby -

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

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