Richards hails many positives from festive fixture

Sunday 28 December 2014

Dean Richards hailed a big Kingston Park crowd and the efforts of his players after a thrilling game of rugby which saw his team run Saracens close right up until the final whistle.

Director of rugby Dean Richards hailed the North East public for turning out in their droves as Newcastle Falcons were edged in a Premiership classic against Saracens.

A total of 9,192 fans packed into Kingston Park as the Falcons faced the London side in a fine exhibition of open rugby, Richards saying: “It was absolutely brilliant to get that many people inside the ground, and I don't think many of them will have gone home disappointed by the game they saw.

“Sure, the players and coaches were disappointed at the defeat, but there was full entertainment value for everybody who came along to watch.

“Obviously we are disappointed at the fact that we lost, but we were happy with the effort we put in and the three tries we scored. Some of the rugby we played in patches was exceptionally good.”

Using his bench to positive effect and seeing a pair of tries from Premiership debutant Chris Harris, Richards said: “We had been bitterly disappointed not to come away from Harlequins with anything the week before when we felt we should have done, and again we threw a lot into it against Saracens.

“What it shows is we have a formula which can win and a side moving forwards.

“I said to the players afterwards that Semore Kurdi and I talk about a four or five-year plan, and we are probably two years ahead of that in the way the players are playing.

“We just need to tweak what we have got, play in the right areas and take the right options at the right times. Do that and we could be winning games that people probably don't think we can win.”

With Harris among the many to catch the eye, Richards said of the dual-registered Rotherham man: “The club is in a very good place with some really good players coming through, and coming through in numbers.

“There is a lot of quality in there, and Chris took his chances really well. There are not many people who would have scored the tries that he did in the manner in which he did, and I was delighted for him.

“He had a bang on the head and had to go through the concussion protocols, and that's probably why he scored twice! All joking aside I thought he was outstanding and he epitomises what is good about this club at the moment.”

Pleased with much of what his side produced on the day, Richards great said: “Our scrum held up on the whole, our line-out was more than accurate and we are doing some really good things at the moment. Our attacking shape is excellent.

“We had a little bit of a scare with Tom Catterick before the game because he felt he might have pulled something in his thigh, so we had a bit of a fitness test and he seemed to be OK. I thought he played really well on the day.”

It gets no easier for Newcastle with a televised trip to high-flying Northampton on Friday, Richards relishing the East Midlands trip.

“I am delighted that we are being tested week in, week out,” he insisted. “For us it is about pitting your wits against the best, and we have done that well over the last few weeks.”

The Falcons' next home game will see them take on London Welsh in the Aviva Premiership on Sunday 11th January. Tickets for the game are available now, starting from just £15 for adults and £7.50 for juniors. To get yours click here, visit the Falcons' East Stand Ticket Office or call the club's 24 hour Ticket Hotline on 0871 226 6060.

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