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'It's odd, the biggest cheer was when Ford did a spiral bomb'

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Mike Egerton/PA Images via Getty Images)

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Newcastle are currently on a five-game losing run in the Gallagher Premiership but the director of rugby Dean Richards has insisted he won’t curb his team’s have-a-go style in order to give them a better chance of winning games. The Falcons are without a top-flight win since their November 6 15-14 Sandy Park success away to Exeter and they are now preparing to host the Chiefs this Sunday in the return fixture at Kingston Park. 

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In the meantime, the eleventh-place Newcastle have drawn with fellow Premiership strugglers Worcester and then lost to London Irish, Leicester, Northampton, Gloucester and Bristol, a run of defeats in which they have conceded 187 points compared to scoring just 72. It’s a sequence that suggests a more pragmatic approach might better suit Richards’ team but he was adamant heading into this weekend that Falcons’ style of play won’t be altered on his watch. 

“If we were in May and we hadn’t won I’d be starting to panic,” he shrugged about the current barren Newcastle run in the Premiership. “Our side should be competitive every week and sometimes things conspire against you in terms of your preparation and sometimes it affects your delivery.

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“But on the whole, we have been competitive over the last ten years and we will be going forward and a large part of that is homegrown talent coming through, having that feeling that Kingston Park is our home ground and we fight right down to the last little bit.”

What is the Newcastle style, then? “Tries being scored both by forwards and backs alike, defensively breaking teams down. It’s no different really from others. 

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“We are not exactly down the Leicester and Saracens route whereby you exit off your nine up to the opposition ten-metre line. There is a little bit more flair there or willingness to play a bit but at the same time, they are very, very pragmatic in their approach to the game. Sometimes we do (play pragmatically).

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“But the reason we like playing in front of the crowd at Kingston Park is they like us to have a go and they would sooner see us go down fighting that way than probably kicking the leather off the ball on a week by week basis. It is odd isn’t it, you go to Welford Road and the biggest cheer of the day was when George Ford did a spiral bomb and we don’t quite want to get to that level yet.”

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