Adam Brocklebank

Richards happy with cup momentum

Saturday 4 February 2017

Dean Richards admitted there was a certain degree of satisfaction from the fact his Newcastle Falcons side won ugly on Saturday.

Defeating Bath 16-15 at Kingston Park thanks to a late try from Zach Kibirige, the Falcons shaded a scrappy Anglo-Welsh Cup encounter and ensured they enter next week’s Aviva Premiership resumption with momentum on their side.

The director of rugby said: “We will take that. It’s probably the first time we have played badly and won, so in that respect I was really pleased to come away with the result.

“It shows the confidence within the team that we can come back from six points down and get the win, and I was really pleased by that.

“There were a lot of boys coming back from injury, some who hadn’t played much together and it was always going to be scrappy. That was the case for both sides but our goal was to win, and that’s what we did.

“We didn’t play as well as we can do but we dug it out, and these boys don’t give up. They enjoy each other’s company, they love playing for this club and it is a great place to be at the moment.”

The return of Tonga captain Nili Latu from summer knee surgery was one major plus point on the day, Richards stating: “Nili added direction and intensity, which is what he is all about.

“He has a fearless approach to the game and we always knew he would have an impact from the bench. He didn’t disappoint in that respect, the crowd loved it and in the contact area he was just immense.”

Looking ahead to Friday’s league resumption at Sale Sharks after back-to-back cup victories, the Falcons boss said: “We were a little bit worried after the Grenoble away game and Ospreys at home, the fact we had been ahead in both matches and gone on to lose.

“We started well and lost our way a bit in both of those, but in these past two games we have found a way to win. We have got the momentum back after beating Newport Gwent Dragons last week and Bath today, and it is nice to know we can improve a lot despite having won both games.

“We know Friday at Sale Sharks will be tough. They are on a bit of a roll at the moment, they are starting to turn in some good performances and the AJ Bell is never an easy place to go. It will be a difficult game, but it’s one we’re really looking forward to.”

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