Director of rugby Dean Richards believes Friday’s 23-13 home loss to Edinburgh offered his side the robust kind of test they needed going into their Gallagher Premiership opener at home to Saracens on Sunday September 2.
The Falcons boss watched on as his side lost a number of bodies in a bruising encounter, Richards saying: “Edinburgh are a good side and they played well, they gave us a tough game this time last year and we knew it would be a big test once again.
“It was the ideal fixture for us going into the new Gallagher Premiership season, although losing three props, two centres and two second rows probably wasn’t the best.
“It will be interesting to see what sort of team we put out against Saracens based on who is fit and available after the last 24 hours we’ve had, but it’s one of those things and we’ve had a good pre-season overall.”
Richards added: “It’s a balance because you want tough, physical games, but with that comes the risk that you’ll pick up a few knocks. You just don’t want them all to come at once, as seems to have happened for us tonight, but that’s just life and you get on with it.
“I think a few of them will come through for next Sunday, and we’ll just keep an eye on it.”
Keen to kick on from last season’s fourth-placed finish, their highest league placing in two decades, Richards said: “We’re absolutely chomping at the bit to get back into the Premiership stuff and we couldn’t have asked for a better start than Saracens at home.
“They’re a very good side, we’re looking forward to it and there’s a huge sense of excitement about what this season can bring.”
Highlighting Adam Radwan’s contribution with the winger scoring his side’s only try with a late individual effort, the Falcons boss said: “I thought Adam played really well.
“Not just his solo try at the end or his try-saving tackle – I thought he was outstanding all evening, but that was probably about it in terms of positives.”
Tickets for the Gallagher Premiership opener at home to Saracens are available by clicking here.