Diamond: Last five minutes cost us
SALE director of rugby Steve Diamond was pleased with their second half display but was left to rue yet another poor start.
“In the second half, we controlled the game for 35 minutes but we didn’t control the last five,” Diamond said. “We weren’t at the races in the first 20 minutes and you can’t give top-four sides 25-point starts.
“You’ve got to give credit to Newcastle, they were ruthless in the first 20 minutes and we didn’t know what had hit us.”
Newcastle boss Dean Richards has not been surprised by their outstanding season, with the Falcons having a genuine chance of the top four.
He said: “Season on season, our aim is to improve on where we finish the year before and the players have the ambition to do that, so in some respects this year isn’t a surprise.
“Having said that, we have won games that ordinarily I don’t think we would have done, but there is confidence within the team, which is growing.
“Providing I can keep this group together for the next five or six years then we will grow and grow.”