Newcastle Falcons flanker Richard Mayhew admitted his side would take a long hard look at themselves after conceding 15 unanswered points in their LV= Cup round two defeat to Cardiff Blues.
Falcons, looking to bounce back from last weekend’s loss to Northampton Saints, had been 21-7 up at the break after a hat-trick of tries from Adam Powell, Ruki Tipuna and Rob Vickers.
However all that good work would quickly unravel in the space of 17 second-half minutes as Tipuna saw yellow just after the interval and Ellis Jenkins and Rory Watt-Jones capitalised to cross for the Blues.
Simon Humberstone slotted the crucial penalty to put his side ahead and despite two late penalty opportunities of their own, the Falcons were unable to notch a score in the second half.
“They came out with more energy and were more physical, and they looked like they wanted it more in the second half,” said Mayhew.
"They just dominated the second half and we just didn't turn up. We were very average, very soft and very passive – everything we didn't want to be.
"We are very, very angry and disappointed with ourselves.
"We didn't cope with the sin-binning very well and didn't show very good composure and we have to look at ourselves because it's just not good enough.”
The Falcons enjoyed their own man advantage in the first half, with Watt-Jones sin-binned shortly before Vickers went over for the hosts' third try.
However, the Blues came out a rejuvenated side after the break to secure a confidence-boosting victory ahead of their Welsh derby with Scarlets next Friday.
Coach Andi Kyriacou said: “We're absolutely stoked with that result because 16 of that 23 match day squad have come through the Blues Academy system.
"It's great for the region and the players will gain a lot of experience and heart from that performance.
"I was really happy for some of our senior fringe players too who stepped it up in that second half and put in a good display.
"As a squad we've trained hard all week and we believe there are more performances like that to come in this competition and we will see the future of the region going forward.”
Tries: Powell, Tipuna, Vickers
Conversions: Socino (3)
Tries: Davies, Jenkins, Watts-Jones
Conversions: Humberstone (2)
Referee: John Meridith
Newcastle Falcons: Tait; Cato, Tiesi (York 64), Powell, Tuilagi (Blair 48); Socino, Tipuna (Harris 53); Rogers, Vickers (Mcguigan 46), S Wilson (Tomaszczyk 40), Green, Barrow (Macleod 48), Mayhew, Saull (Clegg 53), M Wilson
Cardiff Blues: Fish; Williams, Gonzalez-Amorosino, Smith, Davies (Williams); Humberstone, Knoyle; Davies, Williams, Andrews, Reed (Normandale 66), Dicomidis, Groves (Roach 66), Jenkins, Watts-Jones
Replacements: Lewis E, Lewis C, Lewis D, Thomas
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