Newcastle Falcons boss Dean Richards is expecting a stern test when Bristol Rugby come to town for tomorrow’s RFU Championship showdown at Kingston Park (kick-off 3pm).
Richards, who has guided his side to 21 wins out of 21 games going into the final match of the regular campaign, acknowledges the threat posed by a Bristol outfit that can still squeeze into the play-offs with victory this weekend.
Speaking to Falcons TV, Richards said: “It is not about getting 22 wins out of 22 this weekend, it is about beating Bristol.
“At the start of the season we saw them as genuine contenders for the play-offs, and on Saturday it is our chance to stop them from getting into the play-offs.
“It is going to be a hard game but we have beaten them once already so let’s see what happens.”
Coming into the Bristol clash on the back of last week’s 25-10 triumph at Plymouth Albion, Richards believes it was a ‘job well done,’ saying: “The conditions were not great with a howling gale and a lot of rain and standing water.
“We had a job that we had to do and I thought the boys executed it very well – we were a bit disappointed about the try that they scored, but as soon as it had happened the boys knew what they had done wrong and we rectified it.”
This week has seen a series of new signings announced for the 2013-14 campaign with Adam Powell, Kieran Brookes, Rory Clegg and Andy Saull committing their futures to the Falcons.
Commenting on Clegg and Saull, Richards said: “They can bring a huge amount of Premiership experience to the team.
“I took Rory down to Quins when I was there, and he is a quality player, who has played a lot of Premiership rugby in the last four years, and that experience will serve us well.
“I think people tend to forget how young Rory is and I think there is still a huge amount of rugby still to come out of him.
“As for Andy Saull, he has been there at the top and played for England Saxons, and has the ambition to play international rugby at the highest level, and hopefully we can facilitate that for him.
“He will also bring great competition to the back-row and challenge a lot of the guys who are already here.”
And Richards has not ruled out further additions before the season is over, saying: “We are looking to strengthen the squad in any way we can, and there probably will be some more signings before the season is out.”
You can watch the full interview with Richards on Falcons TV by clicking here.