Dean Richards has his sights firmly set on progressing through to the quarter-finals of the Amlin Challenge Cup ahead of this Sunday’s Round 3 contest with Cammi Rugby Calvisano.
And the Falcons supremo, who has so far guided his charges to a win and a loss in the competition this term, insists the back-back matches against the Italian outfit will go a long way to determining the outcome of the pool.
“We have a great opportunity to get through to the quarter-finals, and on the face of it we’re in a group that we should do well in,” said Richards.
He added: “There’s less pressure this weekend, but at the end of the day we want to win this game and if we don’t get the result that we want then we will be disappointed.”
After hosting Calvisano the Falcons travel to the picturesque setting of Lake Garda the following weekend as they bid to stake a claim for a place in the knockout stages. The five pool winners and three Heineken Cup runners-up will each make it through to the last eight.
Despite the bookies tipping the northeasterners to overpower the Super 10 outfit, Richards is not taking anything for granted.
He said: “I know very little about Calvisano which is quite nice because we are going to have to play what is in front of us.
“We’ve seen a couple of their games, but it doesn’t give you trends or stats that you can get over here in the UK, so we need to go out there and impose ourselves without worrying about the opposition.”
Keen for his side to bounce back following defeat at the hands of Harlequins last time-out, the Kingston Park boss admits his team failed to match the Londoners in every department.
“We stood off them and let them play which was the most disappointing thing for us,” said Richards.
“Defensively we’ve been pretty good throughout the season, but on the day we sat back and let them come at us.
“I don’t know whether we gave them too much respect or not enough respect – it’s one or the other but we’ll be addressing that and when you go two scores down against a team like Quins, and you don’t take your points then that’s what happens,” added the experienced director of rugby.
A solid defensive display the previous week at Northampton Saints filled the hearts of the club’s supporters with so much promise heading into the Quins clash. However, the men from the capital outshone the Tynesiders in front of the BT Sport cameras, with Richards adding: “They are renowned for throwing the ball around the park and Northampton are not, so as a consequence when you play a team that likes to play expansive free-flowing rugby like Quins, you’ve got to react to it and get in their faces and we didn’t.”
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