Richards' Falcons face bright season

Sat, 27 Aug 2016 14:42
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IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Newcastle Falcons' Director of Rugby Dean Richards insists his side have a bright Premiership season ahead of them.

Richards' side lost by a point to both Wasps and Worcester Warriors, as well as further narrow defeats to London Irish and a draw with Sharks last season.

That contributed to an 11th-place finish which, by Richards' own admission, was below what they expected.

However, with the vast majority of core players retained, not to mention Olympic silver-medalist Marcus Watson returning full of confidence after a stunning showing in Rio, Richards believes they have the potential to kick on.

"We have not nailed those small margins last year, but when we do - which will hopefully be this year, we will get quite a few more wins," said the 53-year-old Richard.

"We were disappointed because there were so many games that we missed out on by just a few points and it is fine lines in the Premiership.

"Once you get to grips with those, you can advance reasonably far up the ladder. It is about coming to terms with those and understanding those fine margins and nailing it.

"If we do that we will go up the ladder a bit more than we did this year; we were disappointed with where we finished.

"We have shown we can slug it out with the better teams in the league, but it is about doing that on a more consistent basis and winning those tight games which can go either way and are decided by small margins."

With new signings, Niki Goneva, Evan Olmstead, Kyle Cooper, Ben Sowrey, Opeti Fonua arriving at the club, Richards believes a renewed competition for places can help turn slim loses into wins and help drive Falcons up the table.

The Falcons welcome to Sale to Kingston Park on the Premiership's opening night and after two tough results against the Sharks last season, Richards is preparing his men for a huge game.

"Goneva is looking outstanding and in Olmstead, Cooper, Sowrey and Fonua, we have a host of players who have come in and improved the squad. There is far more competition for places this year," Richards said.  

"Sale is a difficult side to beat, we should have beaten them at their place last year and they were comfortable winners at our place.

"We know that we can beat them, but each side has to produce the goods on the day and both teams are aware that they will lose if they don't turn up on the day.

"It will be an interesting duel on the day.

"They have supplemented their squad with people like AJ MacGinty and Mike Phillips, two very good players, so although they might look a little bit weaker with the loss of Danny Cipriani, they certainly are not."

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Fri, 15 December 2017
Ulster v Harlequins 19h45 Kingspan Stadium
Sat, 16 December 2017
Montpellier v Glasgow Warriors 13h00 Altrad Stadium
Treviso v Scarlets 13h00 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Leinster v Exeter Chiefs 15h15 Aviva Stadium
Racing Metro v Castres 15h15 Stade Yves-du-Manoir
Bath v Toulon 17h30 Recreation Ground
Sun, 17 December 2017
Wasps v La Rochelle 13h00 Ricoh Arena
Clermont Auvergne v Saracens 15h15 Stade Marcel-Michelin
Ospreys v Northampton Saints 15h15 Liberty Stadium
Leicester Tigers v Munster 17h30 Welford Road
RESULT SCORE
Mon, 11 December 2017
Saracens v Clermont Auvergne 14 | 46
Sun, 10 December 2017
Exeter Chiefs v Leinster 8 | 18
Harlequins v Ulster 5 | 17
La Rochelle v Wasps 49 | 29
Sat, 09 December 2017
Munster v Leicester Tigers 33 | 10
Castres v Racing Metro 16 | 13
Northampton Saints v Ospreys 32 | 43
Toulon v Bath 24 | 20
Scarlets v Treviso 33 | 28
Fri, 08 December 2017
Glasgow Warriors v Montpellier 22 | 29
Sun, 03 December 2017
Harlequins v Saracens 20 | 19
Sat, 02 December 2017
Cheetahs v Scarlets 28 | 21
Munster v Ospreys 36 | 10
Wasps v Leicester Tigers 32 | 25
Treviso v Leinster 10 | 36
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Team P W D L Pts
Exeter Chiefs 10 8 0 2 40
Gloucester 10 7 0 3 32
Saracens 10 6 0 4 31
Bath 10 6 0 4 30
Wasps 10 6 0 4 29
Leicester Tigers 10 6 0 4 28
Harlequins 10 5 0 5 24
Newcastle Falcons 10 5 0 5 24
Sale Sharks 10 4 0 6 23
Northampton Saints 10 4 0 6 22
Worcester Warriors 10 2 0 8 14
London Irish 10 1 0 9 8