Aviva Premiership: Dean Richards encouraged by final flourish at Gloucester
Last Updated: 22/03/14 7:09pm
Dean Richards: Happy with the way Newcastle finished at Gloucester
Newcastle director of rugby Dean Richards believes the Falcons could have returned home from Gloucester with a miracle win had their Aviva Premiership clash at Kingsholm gone on for another 10 minutes.
Newcastle looked down and out as Gloucester claimed a 30-point lead through tries from flanker Sione Kalamafoni, full-back Rob Cook, lock James Hudson, centre Mike Tindall and England wing Jonny May, with Cook kicking three penalties and three conversions.
The Cherry and Whites did look to be on a march to victory as the Falcons only had a first-half try from back row Chris Yorke, converted by fly-half Phil Godman, to show for their efforts with 63 minutes gone.
However, an amazing fightback from Newcastle as Gloucester collapsed saw replacement hooker George McGuigan, flanker Andy Saull, full-back Alex Tait and wing Noah Cato score tries while replacement Joel Hodgson added three penalties for an astonishing 40-33 final score as the home side held on.
It gave both sides a try bonus point and, for Newcastle, by getting within seven of Gloucester, they got an extra losing bonus point, crucial ahead of next week's basement battle in the North East with rock bottom and winless Worcester.
Richards said: "In the final quarter of the match, we turned it on. They had some of the opportunities they had in the first quarter and this time, they nailed them which is quite nice to see.
"For us, the big thing was making sure we took our chances and, I thought, Joel's kicking was outstanding and the last kick under pressure typified that.
"We have a huge amount of youngsters coming through so I am pleased with that. You don't want to expose them too much too soon but there is no doubt about it, the boys will have a big future in the game.
"We said, when we were 37-7 down, let's see what happens if we go for four tries so we went out and got them - then we got a fifth.
"And the beauty was that the way the boys were playing, had we gone for another 10 minutes, it might have been a different result altogether because we were just letting rip by that time."
Gloucester head coach Nigel Davies said he was 'disappointed' even though his side played some 'beautiful rugby' in the match as, at one stage, they looked to be ready to run riot.
Davies said: "For 65 minutes, we played some great rugby and then, for 15 minutes, we fell off the side of a cliff. It is probably a microcosm of our season where we have played some great rugby but then we have played some average stuff.
"The game is on for 80 minutes and, in that, you have to maintain a level of your discipline and standards and we didn't do that in the last 15 minutes.
"We knew at the end that Newcastle had nothing to lose and we just didn't deal with them. It takes the shine off what, in that first 65 minutes, was a very good performance.
"You can be very positive about it but the last 15 minutes taints the performance. It is very frustrating for everyone and it is a very quiet dressing room down there."