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Richards questions choice of officials

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Dean Richards questions the choice of officials following controversial decision

Newcastle director of rugby Dean Richards bemoaned his side’s inability to take their chances as they went down to a 26-12 defeat at the hands of Saracens at Allianz Park.

The defeat kept them rooted to the bottom of the Gallagher Premiership with four games to go and they remain three points behind 11th-placed Worcester.

Tane Takulua kicked four penalties for Newcastle but it was not enough to secure a bonus point as they failed to take advantage of their first-half dominance.

Richards said: “We had three clear-cut try-scoring chances in 60 minutes and took none, they had three and took all of them.

“Our scrum was dominant for 50 minutes and our line-out functioned really well.”

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When Takulua kicked his fourth penalty, three minutes from time, Newcastle looked to have earned a deserved bonus point but a disputed last-minute try from Alex Lozowski took that away.

Prior to Lozowski’s finish, Saracens’ wing Alex Lewington appeared to have put a foot in touch but after lengthy discussions with the TMO, the try stood.

Richards said: “I don’t know it whether it was a try or not but I have to question why we were given such an inexperienced set of officials as we are not getting the bounce of the ball, which we need in our present position.”

Next up for Newcastle is a home against fellow strugglers Leicester next Friday evening.

Richards said: “We have to replicate this performance and effort next week but looking at Leicester’s line-up today they are a very strong side.

“Mark Wilson has tweaked his back but he should be back for next week.”

Sean Maitland, Max Malins, Lozowski and Nick Tompkins scored tries for Saracens with Owen Farrell adding three conversions but Saracens’ director of rugby Mark McCall accepted it was an unconvincing performance.

He said: “We made nine changes from last week’s win and the players have been on a mini-break to Austria so we’ve had a restricted training week.

“In the first half, we made a lot of mistakes and our execution was poor. Our handling errors were huge but fortunately our defence was very good.

“Owen (Farrell) said a lot of things at half time so we understood what needed to improve in the second half.

“We still continued to make errors but we but it was a bit more like it so I’m glad we found a way to win.”

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Dean Richards questions the choice of officials following controversial decision