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Dean Richards name checks backrow hero after shock win over Exeter

By PA
(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

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Newcastle director of rugby Dean Richards hailed captain Will Welch after the Falcons stunned Exeter by winning at Sandy Park for the very first time.

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A 72nd-minute penalty by replacement fly-half Brett Connon sealed a 15-14 success and sent the Chiefs to a third defeat in four home games.

“I thought Welchy captained the team extremely well, he threw a lot into it all, he got some crucial turnovers at the right time and he led by example throughout the whole game and was probably my man of the match – but it is difficult to pick out one from all 23 to be honest,” said a delighted Richards.

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Newcastle took the lead with an eighth-minute George McGuigan try but Exeter levelled right on half-time with a converted try by Joe Simmonds.

“We made a good start but in the last two or three minutes of the first half we allowed Exeter to come back in, but we talked about the positives at the break and there were so many of them that the boys came out quite buoyed up for the second half.

“We showed in the final two minutes of the match how committed we were to it, with everybody throwing their body on the line,” added Richards.

Newcastle have had some torrid games at Sandy Park in the past so Richards was thrilled to finally come away with a win from the long journey south.

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“We are delighted. There are a lot of boys who haven’t won here before, and may never again, so it is a key moment in a lot of boys’ careers but at the same time you park it and look forward to the next game.”

Exeter director of rugby Rob Baxter found himself having to talk about another home defeat in a strange season where the Chiefs have also picked up three fine wins on the road so far.

“It is starting to get frustrating, not just for me but the players as well. I thought against London Irish we weren’t where we needed to be emotionally, but I don’t think that was so much the case today,” he said.

“I don’t think we have not worked hard, or not turned up, or not had a desperation to win, we just haven’t been able to pull the game together in lots of individual ways.

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“Our game had individual mistakes, it had collective mistakes, and it had errors in pretty much every area of the game, in attack, in defence or around set-piece.

“The one good thing is we have only conceded 15 points, and at home you would expect to win a game when you do that, but we haven’t managed to roll the scoreboard up high enough to get over that hurdle either.”

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