Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Falcons Feel a Backlash of England Stars' Return; HARLEQUINS PLAYERS PROVE POINT AFTER LOSS IN IRELAND

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Falcons Feel a Backlash of England Stars' Return; HARLEQUINS PLAYERS PROVE POINT AFTER LOSS IN IRELAND

Article excerpt

NEWCASTLE Falcons' director of rugby Dean Richards believes his side was stung by England's stars returning from a smarting Six Nations defeat by Ireland in the 53-17 defeat at Harlequins.

Sonatane Takulua had put the Falcons ahead but, after Quins came roaring back through Rob Buchanan, man-of-the-match Mike Brown and Joe Marchant to lead 27-10 at the interval, Marland Yarde secured the bonus point two minutes into the second half.

Mathew Luamanu, Danny Care and Tim Swiel also scored in the second half for the hosts as they clicked through the gears, meaning Mark Wilson's try was no more than a consolation for the visitors.

Richards said: "With the England boys coming back they had a point to prove after the Ireland game - had they won it might have been different but they had a point to prove. "The team they left behind had been faring very well and doing really well so it probably was the wrong time to catch Harlequins.

"Having said that, we still gifted them so many points on the day and that is probably the most frustrating thing.

"Chris Robshaw is an outstanding player and he has huge leadership potential. He is equally as good as anyone the Lions will come up against in New Zealand - I would have him in my team every day."

Richards' opposite number John Kingston also singled out Robshaw after the match. The former England captain missed the whole RBS Six Nations with a shoulder injury but returned on Saturday to help inspire the south-west Londoners to their biggest Aviva Premiership win of the season.

Robshaw stole the show according to Kingston, who urged Lions head coach Warren Gatland not to overlook the flanker for this summer's tour to New Zealand.

Kingston said: "For me, the biggest thing today was about reintegrating the group back together from the injuries and the internationals.

"Mike Brown rightly gets the attention with the man of the match but there were several other players who could have taken that mantle - and it is a brave man who discounts Chris Robshaw from the Lions.

"His ability to come back today after four months out and put in a performance like that over 80 minutes is a reflection of the guy. …

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