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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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 27 April 2018
Hurricanes v Sunwolves 07h35 Wellington
Stormers v Rebels 13h00 Newlands
Leicester Tigers v Newcastle Falcons 18h45 Welford Road
Sat, 28 April 2018
Reds v Lions 05h05 Suncorp Stadium
Blues v Jaguares 07h35 Eden Park
Brumbies v Crusaders 09h45 Canberra
Kings v Cheetahs 13h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Exeter Chiefs v Sale Sharks 14h00 Sandy Park
Worcester Warriors v Harlequins 14h00 Sixways
Gloucester v Bath 14h00 Kingsholm
Connacht v Leinster 14h05 Sportsground
Dragons v Scarlets 14h05 Rodney Parade
Bulls v Highlanders 15h15 Loftus Versfeld
Treviso v Zebre 16h00 Stadio Monigo
Cardiff Blues v Ospreys 16h35 Cardiff Arms Park
Munster v Ulster 16h35 Thomond Park
Edinburgh v Glasgow Warriors 18h35 Myreside
Sun, 29 April 2018
London Irish v Saracens 14h00 Madejski Stadium
Wasps v Northampton Saints 14h00 Ricoh Arena
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 22 April 2018
Racing Metro v Munster 27 | 22
Brumbies v Jaguares 20 | 25
Sat, 21 April 2018
Ulster v Glasgow Warriors 36 | 15
Zebre v Ospreys 37 | 14
Sharks v Stormers 24 | 17
Leinster v Scarlets 38 | 16
Bulls v Rebels 28 | 10
Reds v Chiefs 12 | 36
Crusaders v Sunwolves 33 | 11
Fri, 20 April 2018
Waratahs v Lions 0 | 29
Blues v Highlanders 16 | 34
Sun, 15 April 2018
Saracens v Bath 41 | 6
London Irish v Exeter Chiefs 5 | 45
Sat, 14 April 2018
Leinster v Treviso 15 | 17
Kings v Cardiff Blues 12 | 45
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MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
Exeter Chiefs 20 15 0 5 75
Saracens 20 14 0 6 67
Wasps 20 12 1 7 61
Newcastle Falcons 20 13 0 7 59
Leicester Tigers 20 2 0 8 57
Gloucester 20 11 1 8 56
Sale Sharks 20 10 0 10 54
Bath 20 9 0 11 46
Harlequins 20 7 0 13 36
Northampton Saints 20 7 0 13 36
Worcester Warriors 20 6 0 14 31
London Irish 20 3 0 17 22