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Richards won't get too down after big defeat
12:00am Monday 23rd September 2013 in Sport
NEWCASTLE boss Dean Richards refused to be downcast despite seeing his Falcons mauled 31-6 by last season's Aviva Premiership champions Leicester Tigers at Welford Road.
Leicester extended their impressive home record to just one loss in their last 18 games as scores from Jordan Crane, Graham Kitchener, Blaine Scully, Dan Bowden and Thomas Waldrom downed Falcons.
It's now one win in three this season - a narrow victory at Sale Sharks during the second round - but Richards admitted it was no disgrace conceding five tries at Welford Road.
While Richards had a relatively makeshift squad at his disposal in terms of experience - Leicester had a plethora of internationals in their squad.
Manu Tuilagi, Toby Flood and Ben Youngs all made their seasonal debuts, while Richard Cockerill also had the luxury of introducing British Lions Geoff Parling and Dan Cole off the replacement's bench, while Tom Youngs was not used at all.
After watching his side struggle at Welford Road, Richards is far from reaching for the panic button just yet.
He said: "We came here with a lot of young boys who did not have the experience Leicester have. If you look at their starting line-up and their bench, it's not a bad squad, is it?
"We came here with no worries and there were positives to come out of it. Players like Dom Barrow, Scott Wilson, Joel Hodgson, Will Welch and Mark Wilson have played a reasonable amount of rugby but not always at this level.
"You could not go anywhere else other than here to gain that experience. It's fantastic.
"I'd still have liked the scoreline to have been reversed and in time it will be. We just need to work on how to do it.
"We made four clean breaks in the first half and didn't nail them. If you make four clean breaks at Leicester you have to nail them.
"Had we scored one or two it might have been different but going in at half-time 17-6 down was probably a bit too far away for us, especially with what they had coming off the bench."
Three tries inside the first 40 minutes effectively killed the game before the break.
It took just six minutes for the hugely physical Crane to bustle his way over the Newcastle try-line, with the returning Flood missing his kick at goal.
And it got worse six minutes later as second-row Kitchener touched down for Leicester, with former Falcon Flood able to chalk up the extras.
Rory Clegg scored a penalty on 26 minutes to make it 12-3 and then added a drop goal five minutes later after a sustained period of Newcastle pressure.
And the gap in class materialised before the break as after a period of Newcastle pressure, a fantastic flowing move involving Tuilagi saw Scully score Tigers' third try of the game - though again Flood missed the conversion as the home side went in 17-6 ahead at the break.
It took just 12 minutes of the second-half for Tigers to earn a bonus point - centre Dan Bowden finishing a flowing move that again involved the impressive Kitchener.
Bustling number eight Thomas Waldrom was able to burrow over after a period of sustained Leicester pressure late on, with Williams adding the extras to make the score 31-6 with ten minutes to play.
It has not been the easiest of weeks for Leicester centre Tuilagi but Tigers coach Paul Burke was full of praise for the England international after his performance.
Tuilagi may not have scored himself but the British Lion created two of the Leicester scores as Richard Cockerill's men claimed a much-needed bonus point.
And Burke gave his bulldozing centre a huge thumb up for his showing after his behaviour was called into question earlier this week during a visit to Downing Street with the British Lions to see Prime Minster David Cameron.
Burke said: "The break he made for (Graham) Kitchener's try was outstanding. It shows how immense he can be, and how strong he is.
"It was Manu's first game since the Lions and he got through 75 minutes and showed how important he is to our team.
"You know what he brings to the table, he is a very aggressive player. He will admit he was a bit rusty at times but it was his first hit-out and he will be better for that performance.
"There are not many players in world rugby who can do what Manu does. He is very important to our team and it's important we get him up to speed. We have got a big six weeks coming up."
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