Richards Hails Youth

Sunday 8 December 2013

Dean Richards lauded his young guns after seeing his side go joint top of Pool 3 in the Amlin Challenge Cup with a 37-15 victory at home to Rugby Calvisano.

Seven of the starting XV were all products of the Falcons academy, and Richards was impressed with what he saw from the current crop of youngsters blossoming on the Kingston Park stage.

“I’m pleased with the result, but I’m even more pleased with the way in which the youngsters played – I thought they played their hearts out,” said director of rugby Dean Richards.

“You look at George McGuigan, Scott Wilson and Grant Shiells in the front-row and they don’t hold back at all, and they give it their all.

“Technically there are some issues with their game but we’ll look at that, and it’s all part and parcel of their development.

“They are developing at a rate of knots, but we’ve also got to be careful as they are still very young. We don’t want to push them too far, too young,” he added.

Recent academy graduate Zach Kibirige was on the scoresheet, with the 19-year-old Teessider running in one of five tries to help the Falcons secure the bonus-point win. Tries from Chris York, Noah Cato (2) and a penalty try were the other scores, but the Falcons chief admits the score line could have been even more comfortable.

Richards said: “It could have been a bit more really as we missed a few opportunities towards the end of the first half, but on the whole I thought the boys played well.

“The lads are delighted that they won but at the same time they are a bit frustrated with the chances that went begging. We still scored five, but we are disappointed to have conceded a couple but that’s life.

“I thought it was an accomplished performance, and I think all-round we need to start producing the goods in the right areas of the field and execute things a bit better than what we are doing at the moment.”

Newcastle travel to northern Italy next weekend for the return clash knowing that a convincing win will put them well and truly in the box seat for a place in the quarter-finals. Richards is expecting a stern test on Italian soil, saying: “It’s certainly not going to be easy out there with their Latin temperament, and they will have a point to prove at home – it will be a difficult place to play.”

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