Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 April 2014

Smith unhappy with unusual defeat

Brian Smith's London Irish side suffered a 13-11 defeat to Newcastle

London Irish director of rugby Brian Smith believes Newcastle put "a lot of pressure" on the match official in the final moments of a tense Aviva Premiership clash at Kingston Park.

With seconds left on the clock and Newcastle narrowly leading by 13-11, Irish substitute fly-half Shane Geraghty had the chance to win the game with a last-gasp penalty.

However, the windy conditions saw the ball fall from the tee twice, leaving Geraghty to rush his kick, which fell agonisingly short.

"It's pretty unusual. You've got a situation where it's dead ball, the game's over, the ball goes off the tee once and it goes off the tee a second time," Smith said.

"To be fair, the Falcons boys put a lot of pressure on the match official. At that point, he's saying 'get the ball away'.

"I think if we had our time again we would take our time and plant the ball on the tee and put the heat back on the official, but the scrum-half was scrambling to get the ball back on the tee and the fly-half was doing his best under unusual circumstances.

"It's a funny game. It's very disappointing from our point of view but I don't want to take anything away from the Falcons."

Newcastle had clinched the lead through a score by centre Adam Powell after Irish openside Ofisa Treviranus had scored the only other try of the game in the first-half in what was an error-strewn match.

Despite the way in which his side lost, Smith remained philosophical.

"It's a game," he added. "You push the boundaries as far as you can and our team would have done the same.

"We didn't really give ourselves a chance.

"It's a shame that sport can go down to those crunch moments but that's sport, that's life. That's why we come back every Sunday."

Newcastle director of rugby Dean Richards had no qualms about the closing moments of the game, which saw his side climb to eighth place in the overall standings.

"I don't think you can run the clock out so if they do kick the goal it doesn't give us time to restart," Richards said.

"I think it's quite fair as they (the Newcastle players) were just making sure there wasn't sharp practice from London Irish and they weren't just running the clock down so we didn't have the chance of getting a try or a penalty."

The slender win for the Falcons was their third in their Premiership campaign, but Richards played down the result to focus on the bigger picture.

"The result was important but it's your consistency throughout the year that's the important thing," he added.

"For us we're now in these tight contests which is quite nice.

"We can grind out a win but we're not scoring many tries but there again we've not been playing in fantastic conditions other than at Leicester where we had a bit of a hiding to be honest.

"It was an arm wrestle in appalling conditions."

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