Nick Kennedy came into the post-match press conference in typical good heart, though inside he’d have been hurting as much as the players.
Too often this season, Irish have found themselves facing a heavy deficit, and Kennedy admitted this: “We let ourselves down in the first half – we missed some key tackles. Credit to Newcastle, they took their chances well. We came out fighting as we always do, but we don’t get things right often enough, and the game slipped away from us.”
Having fallen 23-9 to Worcester last week, Kennedy talked of his sides’ recovery: “As a coaching team, we wanted a reaction, and we got it. We were much better today, and we defended really well, but it wasn’t enough.
“The fact we’re coming so close and missing out is disappointing, but we’ve got to take it as a team. Different people are making mistakes at different times, and that’s difficult.
Kennedy was vehement in his insistence that there’s enough time to turn things around, saying “We can improve enough over rest of the season. We’re new to the league and we’re settling as a team. There is lots of work to do, but we need to throw everything at next week, and we’re already looking forward to it.”
Fullback Greig Tonks echoed this sentiment, saying that Irish have “nothing to lose next week. We like the prospect of being an underdog, and we can take inspiration from Worcester’s victory there.”
Tonks also talked of how close Irish are to getting it right: “We’ve been close so often this year. We’re all really frustrated. We did some really good stuff today, but little errors let us down, and that’s been the story of our season.
“That said, our defence was much better this week, which was good to see. We’re getting punished for every little error, but this fight isn’t over – we need to give it everything, because we can do it!”