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Aviva Premiership: Dean Richards blasts Newcastle after defeat to London Irish
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Newcastle director of rugby Dean Richards described his side's first half performance as "one of the worst I have ever seen" after the Falcons crumbled to defeat against London Irish.
Visitors Newcastle trailed 40-12 at half-time after conceding six tries, before putting in a much-improved performance in a scoreless second half.
The result leaves the Falcons with a seven-point cushion over bottom club Worcester, with both sides having three games to play.
Richards said: "It was incredible, we lacked any composure or intensity.
"Some of our boys thought we are already safe from relegation, we conceded the first three tries through our own mistakes and were always chasing the game.
"London Irish had nothing to lose, we knew they were going to throw the ball around from the off and we had to cope better than we did."
Newcastle made three substitutions at half-time, including the introduction of half-backs Mike Blair and Joel Hodgson who gave more direction to the team, but they could not add to the four first-half penalties kicked by Rory Clegg.
"I made it perfectly clear what I thought at half-time as the boys knew they played badly," Richards said.
"In the second half there was a lot of endeavour but we still lacked structure and composure."
London Irish director of rugby Brian Smith was delighted with his side's effort.
"We definitely got a flyer, with charge-downs etc, but I'm pleased we went on with it," he said.
"I'm actually happier with our second half performance as we put in a massive defensive effort not to bleed a try or two which is difficult when you are that far in front."
Irish now face difficult away trips to Northampton and Gloucester which Smith accepted would be a tough task.
"We are safe but can't get in Europe so it's an unusual situation," he said. "But the signs are good as we are working hard for each other.
"To lose James O'Connor with a hamstring problem 10 minutes from the end was a blow. We will have to assess him but Tom Homer is a ready-made replacement should we lose James."
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|Friday 2nd January|
|19:45||Northampton vs Newcastle Falcons|
|Saturday 3rd January|
|14:00||Saracens vs London Irish|
|16:30||Exeter vs Gloucester|
|Sunday 4th January|
|14:00||Wasps vs Sale|
|14:00||Leicester Tigers vs Bath|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Harlequins|
|Friday 9th January|
|19:45||Gloucester vs Saracens|
|Saturday 10th January|
|14:00||Sale vs Northampton|
|15:00||Bath vs Wasps|
|15:15||Harlequins vs Leicester Tigers|
|Sunday 11th January|
|14:00||Newcastle Falcons vs London Welsh|
|15:00||London Irish vs Exeter|
|Saturday 14th February|
|15:00||Leicester vs Gloucester|
|15:00||Exeter vs Newcastle|
|15:00||Northampton vs London Irish|
|Sunday 15th February|
|14:00||Wasps vs Harlequins|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Sale|
|15:00||Saracens vs Bath|
|Friday 20th February|
|20:00||Newcastle vs Wasps|
|Saturday 21st February|
|14:00||Sale vs Saracens|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Exeter|
|15:00||London Irish vs Leicester|
|15:00||Bath vs Northampton|
|15:00||Gloucester vs London Welsh|
|Saturday 28th February|
|14:30||London Welsh vs London Irish|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com