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Dean down after missed opportunity

Newcastle director of rugby Dean Richards was a disappointed man as his side failed to capitalise on all the opportunities that they had created during the course of the Aviva Premiership match.

Five penalties from Tim Swiel saved Harlequins from a surprise home defeat at the Stoop as they edged their struggling opponents 15-7.

And Richards said afterwards: "We broke Quins at ease; we should have scored four or five tries as they created next to nothing.

"We shot ourselves in the foot as we needed to be more patient. We wanted the win today, not just a bonus point - and we didn't even get that."

Falcons number eight Ally Hogg echoed the sentiments of his boss, saying: "We beat ourselves, we had numerous chances and they created nothing.

"We cut them to pieces but little inaccuracies and our lack of ability to hold onto the ball cost us dear."

Despite numerous line-breaks, Newcastle could only manage one try through Alex Tuilagi - converted by Juan Pablo Socino - before ill-discipline allowed Quins back into the match, with Swiel's kicking securing them victory.

Quins' director of rugby Conor O'Shea paid tribute to Swiel, who was only called upon on Friday as regular fly-half Nick Evans was ruled out having failed to recover from a hamstring injury.

O'Shea said: "We are very lucky to get him. It will be a great experience for him here over the next four months as he's very talented."

Evans was not the only absentee in the Quins line-up as skipper Joe Marler was rested, while Luke Wallace, Chris Robshaw and Nick Easter were all missing through injury.

O'Shea continued: "We always knew it was going to be a tough game but we didn't have our intensity levels or defence right in the first half.

"We were losing more and more players throughout the week but you have to trust your squad and the youngsters will have learnt a lot from today."

He also paid a big compliment to his centre partnership, which played a huge part in bringing Quins back into the game when they appeared likely losers.

The 44-year-old explained: "Matt Hopper and George Lowe were unbelievable in midfield as they brought a huge energy to the game."

Next Saturday Quins face league leaders Northampton before a huge crowd at Twickenham, which O'Shea accepts will be a huge task.

He added: "We need to step up to a different level next week but we will have a number of our key experienced players back in our line-up.

"However Chris Robshaw won't be back until the Leicester game on January 10 - and Luke will be out for six weeks."


From Belfast Telegraph