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.
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.
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.
“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.
“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.”
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now