Richards' Falcons face bright season

Sat, 27 Aug 2016 14:42
Large dean richards falcons 800

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."

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 02 March 2018
Blues v Chiefs 06h35 Eden Park
Reds v Brumbies 09h00 Suncorp Stadium
Kings v Dragons 17h35 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Cardiff Blues v Treviso 19h35 Cardiff Arms Park
Edinburgh v Munster 19h35 Myreside
Ulster v Glasgow Warriors 19h35 Kingspan Stadium
Harlequins v Bath 19h45 Twickenham Stoop
Sat, 03 March 2018
Sunwolves v Rebels 22h00 Tokyo
Crusaders v Stormers 06h35 Christchurch
Sharks v Waratahs 13h05 Kings Park
Gloucester v Newcastle Falcons 15h00 Kingsholm
Exeter Chiefs v Saracens 15h00 Sandy Park
Northampton Saints v Sale Sharks 15h00 Franklin's Gardens
Bulls v Lions 15h15 Loftus Versfeld
Scarlets v Leinster 15h15 Parc y Scarlets
Zebre v Ospreys 17h30 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Cheetahs v Connacht 17h35 Bloemfontein
Jaguares v Hurricanes 21h40 Estadio Jose Amalfitani
Sun, 04 March 2018
Worcester Warriors v Leicester Tigers 15h00 Sixways
Wasps v London Irish 15h00 Ricoh Arena
PREMIERSHIP
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
Exeter Chiefs 16 11 0 5 57
Saracens 16 11 0 5 53
Wasps 16 10 1 5 50
Newcastle Falcons 16 10 0 6 46
Bath 16 9 0 7 45
Gloucester 16 9 1 6 44
Leicester Tigers 16 9 0 7 42
Sale Sharks 16 7 0 9 38
Harlequins 16 6 0 10 32
Northampton Saints 16 6 0 10 31
Worcester Warriors 16 5 0 11 27
London Irish 16 2 0 14 15