Newcastle Falcons supremo Dean Richards admits Saturday’s victory over title challengers Bedford Blues was his side’s toughest test to date this season.
The Falcons boss, armoured with an experienced coaching team, masterminded a 29-20 triumph to put the northeasterners in the box seat at the summit of the RFU Championship.
Now 11 points clear of this weekend’s opponents, the Falcons still have their 100 per cent record intact, having won eight out of eight league games.
“I thought Bedford were a good side and I said before the game that they would be a bigger test for us,” Richards told the gathering media.
“Yes it was disappointing to have conceded the two tries in the second-half, but we came away with the win and that is the most important thing,” he added.
James Pritchard’s brace of tries in the second period made for a tense finish as the Goldington Road faithful spurred on their troops. However, the North East outfit kept their composure to secure the spoils which were rubber-stamped when Jimmy Gopperth sweetly struck a 77th minute drop-goal.
Richards said: “The two tries that we conceded were gift wrapped and that’s the most frustrating thing because we actually defended quite well.
It was just an organisational thing in terms of players coming out of the line, but that can be easily rectified. In that respect I was pleased with the way that we stood up to the challenge.
Tom Catterick’s try on the stroke of half-time went some way to sealing the ball game according to Richards, who now prepares his charges for the visit of Nottingham and Tonga next week.
“We got the try just before half-time which was fantastically well taken and probably sealed the game – I don’t think people realise how difficult a place it is to come and play,” said Richards.
He added: “There is a slope and there was a strong wind which makes a significant difference, and the second-half was more difficult for us.
“We squandered a couple of chances and could have scored more tries, but so could they. All in all I enjoyed the game and all the players have come off the field also saying how much they enjoyed the game.”
Next up for the Falcons are Nottingham, who travel to Kingston Park on the back of Sunday’s blistering 63-7 win at home to Bristol. Following Friday’s game (kick-off 8pm), the Falcons host Tonga on Tuesday 13 November (kick-off 7.30pm).
Tickets for both games are available online by clicking here or call the Falcons Ticket Hotline on 0871 606060.