Newcastle Falcons chief Dean Richards reserved praise for academy products Zach Kibirige and Scott Wilson after making their debuts in Saturday’s 52-5 victory over Cross Keys in the British and Irish Cup.
ibirige, 17, and Wilson, 18, were handed their chance to impress the Falcons boss after a series of solid displays in the Aviva A League under the guidance of Mark Laycock and James Ponton.
And the duo’s performance was the highlight of the day according to Richards, who revealed it was a frustrating afternoon for his side despite running out comfortable winners over their Welsh counterparts.
“They were outstanding on the day and they did exceptionally well, and for me their performances were the most pleasing thing for me today,” said Richards.
Middlesbrough-born Kibirige wasted no time in introducing himself to the Falcons fans, as he underlined his blistering pace to cross the whitewash on 12 minutes.
“Every time he touched the ball he looked as though he was going to do something with it,” Richards said of the Yarm School pupil.
He added: “We have a lad who is 17-years-of-age and he won’t reach his prime until he’s 22 or 23. I think he’ll be an outstanding player.”
On a day when Richards blooded the teenage twosome, the experienced director of rugby admits that was the only real high-point of the day.
Bemoaning his side’s failure to control the game at times, Richards said: “It was a little bit frustrating to watch at times as we didn’t play as we wanted and went off plan.
We got the points which we wanted, but they scored a soft try at the end which again disappointed us, so it’s a bit of a frustrating day."
The Falcons continue their quest to lift the British and Irish Cup with a trip to Connacht next week, before hosting Rotherham Titans in the RFU Championship (kick-off 8pm).
Tickets are available for the Rotherham game by calling the Falcons Ticket Hotline on 0871 226 6060 or click here to purchase online.