LONG-SUFFERING boss Dean Richards insisted an end to Newcastle Falcons’ abysmal run of form was long overdue after his side dispatched the burden of a 20-match losing streak with a dramatic 29-24 success against Exeter yesterday.
The visitors were leading 24-17 with 15 minutes remaining only for Tom Catterick and Noah Cato to cross the line and secure Newcastle’s first top-flight win since beating London Irish twelve months ago.
“People ask me if it is relief that we’ve won but it’s been coming for a while,” said Richards. “We’ve been playing a good brand of rugby all year, playing a really expansive game and trying to scores tries.”
Wasps director of rugby Dai Young was forced to defend squad selection in the wake of his side’s 25-14 defeat against Sale Sharks after omitting England players Joe Launchbury and James Haskell.
Tries from Tom Arscot, Chris Cusiter and Tom Brady were supplemented with 10 points from the boot of Danny Cipriani while Nathan Hughes and Christian Wade powered over for Wasps, who drop to ninth in the table.
“It wasn’t a case of resting players for the sake of rest, the guys that we rested needed that rest otherwise they were going to break down,” said Young.
Centre Luther Burrell scored the only try of the game as champions Northampton assumed top spot in the Premiership after defeating London Irish 19-12 on Saturday.
Northampton replaced Bath at the summit, who defeated Saracens 21-11 on Friday night, while Gloucester consigned Leicester Tigers to their third straight league defeat with a 33-16 victory at Kingsholm Stadium.
London Welsh failed to shake off the tag of whipping boys as Marlon Yarde touched down twice in Harlequins’ 52-0 thrashing of the exiles at The Stoop.