Richards eyes Lyon improvements

Thursday 15 December 2016

Director of rugby Dean Richards says Newcastle Falcons will be fuelled by a sense of wanting to do themselves justice at the second time of asking against Lyon on Sunday.

The French side visit Kingston Park in the European Challenge Cup after last week posting a 42-12 victory on home soil – Richards disappointed by his side’s efforts on the night but convinced they can turn it round in the fourth of six scheduled group ties.

The Falcons boss said: “We sat down afterwards and talked about last Friday’s game, and we were pretty disappointed. You don’t mind losing provided you play well, but we didn’t do that on the night. As a consequence we need to make amends this week.

“We are appreciative of the fact we had a side for that game which had been pretty much brought together, and was lacking in experience and game time. At the same time we desperately want to do well in this competition, and it just didn’t work out on the night.”

Hopeful that the availability of additional personnel can aid his side’s prospects, Richards said: “We went into last week’s game with 26 injured players, and of the 23 we put out on the day, only 22 of them could have taken the field. We were down to the bare bones, but this week we have a couple of guys back. Craig Willis and Calum Green are back from their suspensions, Callum Chick is back and that will supplement the side.

“We will have a little bit more experience. We have got a lot of guys who are carrying bumps and bruises, and I have always adopted the principle that during Europe and the Anglo-Welsh Cups that I like to give people opportunities. But there will be a bit more of a blend of older heads and those younger guys this week.”

On the threat posed by a Lyon side who still have domestic survival on their minds, he added: “We expect Lyon will field a similar side on Sunday and they will come over pretty confident.

“Having spoken to the Lyon president after our game last weekend their goal is to stay up in the Top 14, and provided they do that he will be reasonably happy. The goal then is to kick on the following year, and they have a reasonable budget to be able to do that. For them, that is their focus.

“We felt last week they were a side we could have beaten over there and, if we had played to our capability, probably should have done. Having said that, they played exceptionally well during the 80 minutes, whereas we didn’t perform in the way we wanted to.”

Tickets for Sunday’s 3pm kick-off are available by calling 0871 226 6060, clicking here or from the stadium on the day. Season ticket members are reminded that this game is included as part of their package, while the Lyon match is also included in the half-season ticket if booked before 4pm on Saturday December 17.

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