Rugby - Quins defeat disappoints Richards

Newcastle director of rugby Dean Richards described himself as "gutted" after his side conceded two late penalties to Ben Botica to deprive themselves of a crucial victory in their battle against relegation.

PA Sport
Rugby - Quins defeat disappoints Richards
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Dean Richards was disappointed his Newcastle side were beaten at Harlequins

Rory Clegg kicked three penalties before Alex Tait's try with 10 minutes to go had put them ahead for the first time at the Twickenham Stoop but they were to be denied a deserved victory as they suffered an 18-14 loss at Harlequins.

"Every point is well received but we should have four today not one. The boys were outstanding and wore their heart on their sleeves. We had a strong base up front; there was a howling gale blowing down the middle and for once we actually used our wind advantage, " said Richards.

Clegg missed three kicks for Newcastle which ultimately cost his side a win but Richards refused to blame him for the defeat.

He added: "They also had chances to kick at goal but didn't take them so it evened itself out. We conceded two tries in the first half. One was well executed but the other was a soft one.

"Full credit to the Quins, they never say die and at the end our defence of their drives was crucial as we ended up competing instead of defending."

For the second week running, Quins were lethargic and on both occasions only secured victory in the last five minutes of the match.

Tries from Ollie Lindsay-Haque and Sam Smith with one conversion from Botica had seen them build up a wind assisted 12-3 half-time lead -but after the interval they faded badly.

Director of rugby Conor O'Shea is hoping his side can improve on their performance next time out.

He said: " We didn't have one position in the second half, we have to be better than that as there were plenty of inaccuracies and we gave away numerous silly penalties."

However despite the poor performance, O'Shea still paid tribute to his team, saying: " We showed massive mental strength and were fighting to the end but if Rory Clegg had kicked his goals we would have lost.

"Newcastle will be frustrated and disappointed."

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