Director of rugby Dean Richards wants his Newcastle Falcons to start taking their chances after falling to an Aviva Premiership Rugby defeat at Wasps.
Visitors Falcons found themselves 17-0 behind in the first half, only for Mike Delany to finally put them on the scoreboard with a penalty just before the interval.
He added a second penalty shortly after the break to bring Newcastle to within 11 points of their hosts, but that was as good as it got for Richards’ men.
Wasps, who benefitted from a penalty try and a Frank Halai score in the first half, then saw former Falcon Jimmy Gopperth go over for two tries – the last coming right at the death to secure the home side a bonus point as they won 31-6 – but Richards felt that didn’t tell the entire story of the game.
“The scoreline did not reflect the effort the guys put in, but at the end of the piece their accuracy told,” he said.
“We are not quite as experienced as they are but, having said that, our boys turned it on in a lot of ways.
Really enjoyed and proud to have made my premiership debut tonight! Shame about the result but hopefully will bounce back next week
— Callum Chick (@Callum_Chick) October 30, 2016
“We missed a lot of opportunities and, had we taken those, then it might have been a different thing altogether.
“There wasn’t much space on the field, and at times our defence was outstanding. We probably created an equal amount of tries to what Wasps did – we just didn’t finish them off, and that was the most frustrating bit.
“There are signs of improvement and we made it a difficult game for Wasps.
“Had we taken our chances it would have been even more difficult, but we are competing well with the top sides. The thing we need to add is a little more accuracy.”
Thanks to @WaspsRugby for being great hosts today, and gracious in victory. All the very best for the rest of the season.
— Newcastle Falcons (@FalconsRugby) October 30, 2016
But Wasps director of rugby Dai Young agreed with Richards and admitted his side had fallen below the expectations of the Ricoh Arena faithful.
“The scoreline flattered us a little bit if I am totally honest with you,” Young said. “It wasn’t a vintage performance from us, I thought we looked a little bit flat and a little bit fatigued, but we found a way to win and had enough to get over the line.
Scrappy game today but great to get the 5 points! Newcastle are a very good team! @WaspsRugby
— Guy Thompson (@GuyThompson87) October 30, 2016
“I would have settled for the win. To come away with the bonus point at the end was a bit fortunate, but we’ll take it.
“I never really feared we were going to lose the game, but it could have gone right to the wire.
“We weren’t as accurate as we would have liked and didn’t put as much energy into the performance for the full 80 minutes as we wanted.
“We didn’t demonstrate control in many areas. We made a lot of last ditch tackles, which saved our bacon on many occasions.”
Wasps: Miller (Cipriani 53), Wade, Daly, Eastmond, Halai (Leiua 71), Gopperth, Simpson (Robson 53); Mullan (Bristow 65), Johnson (Cruse 65), Moore (Cooper-Woolley 10, Johnson 74), Launchbury, 5 Myall (Gaskell 59), Rieder, Thompson, Hughes
Replacements not used: Symons
Newcastle Falcons: Hammersley (Hodgson 59), Watson, Waldouck, Socino, Sinoti, Delany, Young (Takulua 63); Lockwood (Vickers 70), Sowrey (Lawson 70), Welsh (Wilson 63), Green (Witty 66), Olmstead, Wilson, Welch, Chick (Hogg 56)
Replacements not used: Burdon
Tries: Penalty try, Halai, Gopperth 2
Conversions: Gopperth 4
Penalties: Delany 2
Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys