Saumi proud of Plymouth Albion's display as Falcons are put to the test
Plymouth Albion coach Nat Saumi has told his team to build on their impressive performance against unbeaten Championship leaders Newcastle Falcons.
Albion, with just one win in their last eight matches, pushed Dean Richards' team hard at Kingston Park on Friday night before eventually losing 31-15.
Saumi's side did become the first team this season to score two tries at Kingston Park and were only the third team to deny the former Premiership club a bonus point for scoring four tries.
Saumi now wants his team to keep producing that level of performance.
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"I was really proud of the boys," said Saumi. "I told them in the debrief that the three things I told them I want – character, good team and individual performances and pride – they managed to achieve.
"I was happy with the performance. We just wanted to go there and have a go and see how it went."
Albion led for most of the first half and were only 16-12 down at the break after Aaron Carpenter and Tom Bowen scored tries, the first converted by Henry Slade.
They then closed the gap to 16-15 with a Slade penalty before Newcastle re-grouped and got two further tries – the last coming six minutes from time.
"It was just a bit of slackness again – just a few basic errors – that gave them points," said Saumi. "The game was there to be won."
The Albion coach was particularly pleased to deny the Falcons a fourth try.
"Towards the end I kept passing messages on because I wanted to be one of the teams that stopped them getting a bonus point for scoring four tries," he said.
"The boys put their bodies on the line defensively. They were throwing everything into it.
"It was a good defence performance by the boys."
He added: "The team are on a high after a performance like that and I have told them they have two cup games coming up and they need to use them as another building block to go into the second round [of Championship matches].
"This was our final game of the first round and, hopefully, we can take this into the cup games and then into the Pirates league game [at home on Boxing Day]."
Saumi admitted Albion were under no pressure at Newcastle.
"Mentally we went there to play a game where we had nothing to lose. Newcastle were undefeated and so we were trying to achieve something. The boys just gave everything and we nearly got something.
"But there was some good decision-making from Newcastle.
"They have a lot of experienced players and they kept putting the points over the posts."