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'We've been camped up in the hotel, not sure if the game would be played'

By PA
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

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Dean Richards was left to bemoan a lack of accuracy after his Newcastle side squandered a late lead to draw 24-24 with Worcester in the Gallagher Premiership.

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In the swirling snow at Kingston Park, the Falcons looked to have sealed the game through Kyle Cooper’s 72nd-minute try, only to be pegged back immediately when Worcester’s Billy Searle scored.

In a match delayed by a day due to Storm Arwen the hosts botched a number of opportunities in the Warriors half and collapsed defensively late on, much to Richards’ frustration.

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Richards said: “We probably should have taken five points. Full credit to Worcester, when they had chances, they took them and we didn’t take ours.

“It was always going to be a game of two halves with the wind and the weather being as it was. Having the wind behind us in the first half, you’ve got to capitalise and we didn’t.

“We went into the break two points up at half-time when we probably should have gone in 15 to 20 points up which we didn’t do.

“We will look at our defensive frailties and why we conceded the easy tries that we did, but, at the same time, we scored four tries and probably should have scored another four which is the frustrating thing.

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“The first half is about where you play your rugby and the second is about taking your opportunities and we probably didn’t do either particularly well.”

Richards’ reaction stood in stark contrast to Worcester head coach Jonathan Thomas, who was elated by his side’s effort following an adverse 24 hours.

While Cooper’s late score could have sealed the contest, Worcester fought back through Searle’s try, which was masterfully converted by Fin Smith to secure them three points on the road, leaving Thomas delighted.

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Thomas said: “I think the biggest thing I spoke to the players about before the game was our mindset, that warrior mindset, because there’s been so many things thrown at us in the last three days.

“We’ve been camped up in the hotel, not sure if the game is going to be played and obviously the conditions, we weren’t sure if it was going to be wind, snow or frost.

“The biggest thing we spoke about before the game was let’s have a no excuses mentality – we knew it was going to be tough but we didn’t want to use that as an excuse.

“I’m really proud of the character of the players and there were a lot of challenges we had during the game.

“Sometimes it’s not about the technical or the tactical, it is just about revealing your character in tough games like that and that is what we did.”

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