Director of rugby Dean Richards declared himself a happy man following Newcastle Falcons’ 52-24 victory over Bordeaux-Begles on Saturday.
The European Challenge Cup victory saw Newcastle preserve their unbeaten record in the competition, Richards saying: “It was a great return on the day from us.
“You’ve got to look at the team Bordeaux brought over, there were a lot of quality players in it so to play in the manner we did and score the tries that we did, I was really pleased.”
Leading 38-17 at half-time and adding a further 14 after the interval, the Falcons boss said: “We were a little bit worried because we gifted them two tries, which was galling, and you can’t be making those kinds of basic errors at this level. But we bounced back, scored a lot of tries and there was a lot of youth on show. I thought they did outstandingly well.
“The second half was never going to be as good as the first, and in that third quarter of the game we just lost our shape a little. We got it back towards the end, we gave game time to a lot of our younger guys and it was great to see the likes of Jamie Blamire getting a little taste of it with his senior debut at the end.”
Pleased by the nuts and bolts of his team’s forward play and the return of some long-term injured players, Richards added: “It was fantastic seeing Sam Lockwood back out there and I also thought Scott Wilson more than held up that right side of the scrum. Bordeaux are believed to be one of the best scrums in France so that was a great marker for us, and Ben Sowrey took his try outstandingly well in addition to performing in other areas.
“Will Witty was man of the match and Calum Green scored our first try, so from a tight five point of view there was a lot to be happy about. I was just delighted for the boys because even without a lot of our experienced guys they played so well together. It all came together on the day.”
Taking their unbeaten record down to Wales on Friday as they close in on a Challenge Cup quarter-final, Richards said: “Whatever happens down at the Dragons happens, and we’ll just give it our best shot.
“The boys know it will be a hard task down there because the Dragons are not a bad side, they’ve got a lot of talent in their team and they’ll be gunning to take our scalp.”