Oliver Tomaszczyk and Richard Mayhew have both been picked to represent the RFU Championship for their clash with the Maori All Blacks at Castle Park, Doncaster next Saturday (kick-off 12.05pm).
The match which will be shown live on Sky Sports HD will be a stern test for the duo, who were in fine fettle during the Falcons’ 29-9 victory over Nottingham on Friday.
Mayhew crossed the whitewash in the first-half to cap off an excellent display for the northeasterners, while Tomaszczyk’s no-nonsense approach with ball in hand endeared him to the Kingston Park faithful.
Richards admits the Falcons medical team will be monitoring Mayhew after the Kiwi came off the park with concussion.
“We are going to have to have a rain check on Richard as he came off the pitch slightly concussed, and he got a bit of double vision so we will have to see how he is,” said Richards.
Hailing Tomaszczyk’s call-up, Richards added: “From Oli’s point of view it is fantastic news, and he is starting to get a reputation for being one of the best scrummagers in the Championship, if not the best in the Championship.
Not only that, his play in open field is improving dramatically – in terms of his character off the field everyone gets on with him, so it will be interesting to see how he gets on
Bedford Blues head coach and former Wales international Mike Rayer will take charge of the Championship select alongside assistant coaches Ian Davies and Diccon Edwards.
Rayer said: “There are some guys who have done really well in the RFU Championship and have been around this division for a number of years.
“It’s important that you have that blend of more experienced guys guiding the young enthusiastic players around the pitch. That’s exactly what I’m expecting of guys like Gavin Cattle, Nic Rouse and Alan Paver, who are very experienced at this level.
“There are some really exciting looking backs in the squad as well. I’m really excited by the potential centre partnership, and what we have out wide. It’s a good mix.”