EDINBURGH 31 NEWCASTLE 13
Pedro Bettencourt of Newcastle Falcons tackles Bill Mata of Edinburgh Rugby in the Champions Cup and left, Falcons’ Chris Harris wanted to give as many of the boys who played out in Toulon another chance, but their opportunities have been thwarted partly due to bureaucracy. Fair dues to Sam and Sami. They said they’d give it a go at tight-head, and if they felt there was any injury or safety issue they’d make it known and go to uncontested. To be fair they stuck at it, but it’s a ridiculous scenario when you lose three tight-heads in 24 hours and you’re not allowed to bring someone else in.
“Right up until an hour before kickoff we were saying to EPCR that we’ve got a contracted tight-head who is fit and is at the stadium, and that the alternative was playing a loose-head who a number of years ago has played a little bit of tight-head at a much lower level. Why is it allowed to happen?
“For the integrity of the game and the competition the boys said they’d give it a go, and I respect them for that, but it’s not a nice position to be in. You would have thought that common sense would have prevailed from EPCR’s point of view. I rang [Edinburgh coach] Richard Cockerill and explained the situation to him, he said he didn’t want the game to go to uncontested scrums but ultimately it wasn’t his decision. EPCR should have allowed us to register Jack Payne who is a specialist tight-head, and that was the simple option. Having said all that, Edinburgh are a really good team who are packed with Scottish internationals and it was always going to be a challenge. I thought our youngsters acquitted themselves really well on the night and we’ll see where we are for next week.
“Toby Flood was sat on the bench nursing an injury, which wasn’t ideal, and I was glad in the end that I didn’t have to bring him on. He could have done with not being out there, and we’ve come through relatively unscathed in terms of new problems.”