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'We couldn't do anything right... They probably should have won by more'

By PA
PA

Newcastle director of rugby Dean Richards admitted his side “couldn’t do anything right” at the scrums as they fell to a 39-15 European Challenge Cup quarter-final defeat to Leicester.

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Richards criticised his team for failing to adapt to French referee Romain Poite’s handling of the scrums as they conceded two penalty tries for scrum collapses.

Newcastle forwards Mark Tampin, and Mark Wilson were shown yellow cards and Kyle Cooper picked up two, resulting in his sending-off late on.

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The Tigers claimed further tries through Harry Potter, who touched down twice, and Matias Moroni, while Johnny McPhillips and George Ford both kicked a penalty and a conversion.

George Wacokecoke and Tom Penny scored Newcastle’s tries, with Brett Connon kicking a penalty and a conversion.

Richards said: “We weren’t at the races at the scrums. It was one of those days when we couldn’t do anything right.

“They were still pretty dominant in that area and deserved the plaudits, but it’s frustrating that we couldn’t adapt to give ourselves a chance.

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“With all the possession they had, they probably should have won by more, but they did the basics very well, although their game was limited.

“When we had some ball we showed we could play a bit by scoring a couple of nice tries, but we couldn’t secure enough of a platform to maintain that.”

Leicester scrum half and captain Richard Wigglesworth admitted his side, who only pulled well clear in the closing minutes, should have made things more comfortable for themselves.

Newcastle Leicester
George Martin takes a lineout /Press Association
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“If you have a scrum platform like that, it would be tough to lose a game if you are so dominant in that area,” he said.

“Because of that dominance, we could always get out of trouble and set up a good field position.

“The club is going back to its tradition by having a strong set-piece, although most clubs won’t get very far without one.

“We started really well, but they made us work hard for us and it was closer than it should have been for a bit.

“We are a bit disappointed at some of the inconsistencies in our game as we raised our intensity levels at certain stages, but then it would drop off.

“We didn’t execute well enough at times and they’ve got a few good lads who get over the ball to make it difficult for us.”

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Shaylen 32 minutes ago
Jack Willis' Champions Cup masterclass proves English eligibility rules need a rethink

If France, Wales, England, Scotland and Ireland got together and all changed their eligibility laws in the same way SA has it would be absolutely bonkers. All players from all nations involved in Europe would be fair game as would their coaches. The investment in rugby would be supercharged as teams would rush to create dream teams. Transfer markets would be super charged, salary caps may change, private investment would grow as rich backers first buy clubs and then put money into their clubs in an effort to land the best players. The richest clubs and franchises would benefit most but money and players would move across borders at a steady flow. Suddenly countries like Wales and Scotland would have a much larger pool of players to select from who would be developed and improved in systems belonging to their rivals within superstar squads while their clubs receive large sums in the transfer market. The Six Nations would experience a big boost as the best players become available all the time. The Champions cup would become even more fiercely contested as the dream teams clash. Fan engagement would grow as fans would follow their favourite players creating interest in the game across the continent. Transfer markets and windows would become interesting events in themselves, speculation would drive it and rumours of big transfers and interest in players would spread. All of this is speculation and much of it would not eventuate straight away but just like in football the spread of players and talent would create these conditions over time. The transfer markets in European football is proof of this. Football had the same club vs country debate eons ago and favoured an open system. This has made it the largest game in the world with global interest and big money. Rugby needs to embrace this approach in the long run as well

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Jon 6 hours ago
Waratahs 'counter-culture' limits Wallaby options for Joe Schmidt

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114 Go to comments
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