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'We felt a bit miffed' - Walder and Sanderson react to northern upset

Falcons wing Mateo Carreras celebrates with team mates after scoring the first try during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby match between Newcastle Falcons and Sale Sharks at Kingston Park on December 23, 2022 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Dave Walder paid tribute to winger Mateo Carreras after the Argentina international inspired Newcastle to an unlikely 20-14 Gallagher Premiership comeback against Sale at Kingston Park.


Trailing 14-0 at the break, Falcons looked out of it before their speedster showed remarkable strength to shrug off two tacklers and get over for the home side’s first try.

A second for Sam Stuart followed and Falcons were able to get over the line thanks to the boot of Brett Connon, with Walder thrilled at the impact of his Argentina star, even if the overall performance was not what he had hoped to see.

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The Falcons director of rugby said: “Mateo is brilliant on both sides of the ball, he’s just a brilliant rugby player.

“He’s very aggressive in defence and doesn’t miss many tackles. He scored another great try and then won a huge turnover with only a few minutes remaining.

“We knew what we would get from Sale and we had to stand up to them and just sort of cling on in there. We felt a bit miffed that some things didn’t go our way in the first half but then they did in the second half.


“We knew that at half-time, it wasn’t through a lack of effort but just needed a bit of clarity around what we were doing. We knew we had to channel that emotion, energy and attitude to make it pay dividends.


“As much as I’d like to stand here and play free-flowing rugby in front of our biggest crowd of the season, we weren’t able to do that. I’m happy that they saw a bunch of guys who are committed and are proud to pull on that jersey with a display built around attitude and energy.”

Sale looked in command when Ewan Ashman and Tom O’Flaherty got over for first-half scores, with Falcons denied a reply just before the break.

But in the second period, they lost their discipline and never really threatened points, much to the frustration of director of rugby Alex Sanderson.

He said: “It was a game of two halves that’s for sure. The first half, we weren’t at our best and it was some rugby for the purists but we managed to get into the break with two tries under our belts and seemed to be in control.


“The second half was a different story. We lost our discipline and gave away too many penalties which we got punished for.

“A few times this season we have played a good half of rugby but not been able to back it up in the other half. It’s clearly something that we need to look at and see what we can do moving forward.

“We have another difficult game against Leicester Tigers in a week which – whilst it is a quick turnaround – we will hopefully be able to put right some of the mistakes we made today.”


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