Newcastle Falcons director of rugby Dean Richards has questioned his side’s discipline after an early try cost them dearly at home to Exeter Chiefs on Friday.
A mistake with ball in hand allowed England centre Ollie Devoto to score the Chiefs’ first try, in his side's 32-19 win, before Scott Lawson responded for the hosts.
But further efforts from Thomas Waldrom, James Short and former Falcons player Will Chudley sent Falcons fans home unhappy, as the Chiefs climbed into the top four of the Premiership table.
And Richards believes their slow start set the tone for the match as they struggled to recover from going behind to Devoto’s early score.
“The crowd were fantastic, they turned up in numbers and the disappointment from our end is that we didn’t give them the performance we wanted to,” he said.
“The feeling is one of frustration, more than anything. We scored a couple of nice tries, and we should have scored more. We missed a couple of kicks at a critical time in the game, but at the same time it wasn’t the kicks that probably cost us, it was the discipline to go out and execute what we said we would do.
“When you give a side a seven-point head start and concede too many dull penalties you get what you deserve, and we have got to look at ourselves more so than them. If we had the patience and the discipline at certain times it might have been different, but we didn’t, and we gave them too much.”
The result was Exeter Chiefs’ third Premiership win of the season and after a slow start last year’s finalists are starting to regain their swagger.
And director of rugby Rob Baxter hailed his men for coming through a difficult match at Kingston Park.
“I would like to give our guys some credit because Newcastle have proven to be a tough nut to crack so far this season, particularly at home and we have come here and got five points,” he said.
“It was not always pretty at times and Newcastle had their moments in the game and I don’t think you can say we ever had control of the game for long periods because it see-sawed a bit. But ultimately we got the five points for the long trip home and that is all we could ask for.”