Richards praises Falcons' late show in Biarritz

Friday 14 January 2022

Dean Richards credited Newcastle Falcons’ youngsters for helping them grind out a 17-13 victory with the very last play in Biarritz on Friday night.

George Wacokecoke’s nimble finish in the right corner required a lengthy TMO referral to determine whether or not the centre had stayed infield and grounded the ball inside the right corner flag, with the clock well past 80.

Receiving an answer in the affirmative, Richards was left to reflect on a game which looked like it might have slipped through their fingers thanks to Brett Herron’s 73rd-minute penalty.

“It was a brilliant finish from George, and I’m delighted for him,” said Richards, whose side now head to Toulon on Saturday having won both of their EPCR Challenge Cup pool games.

“We know he’s got that in his game but we haven’t seen as much of it this season, so it’s great to see him back doing what we know he can.”

Crediting the wider team effort, the director of rugby said: “I thought the young guys did well, and it’s not a bad effort when you consider we had something like 14 guys playing who have come through our academy, and a match-day 23 with 20 English players.

“Connor Collett on the openside was outstanding, I thought Pete Lucock played well, Josh Basham played well when he came on and there were a lot of good performances.

“Rob Farrar and Will Montgomery both went well in the second row, it was nice to see Jamie Blamire and Sam Stuart back out there, and although it wasn’t a classic of a game it was a nice way to win it in the end.

“Both sides had chances to seal the win and there were errors from both sets of players, and it was quite a scrappy game overall.

“There was a lot of dew on the pitch which made it difficult to handle the ball, but I was pleased with the way we hung in there and found a way to win.”

Sitting on two wins from two as they prepare to head to Toulon on Saturday January 22, Richards said: “We’ve got a big game next weekend, and we know it will be tough over in Toulon.

“We’ve got Zebre at home in the last game of the pool stage, and if we keep winning games then we’re in a great position to get home games in the knockout stages, which is ultimately what you want.”

Newcastle Falcons’ next home game is on Saturday January 29 when they host Gloucester in the Gallagher Premiership.

Click here to buy tickets for the 3pm kick-off at Kingston Park Stadium.

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