Maths not worrying Dean Richards as Newcastle Falcons battle on

Director of rugby just taking care of his own house as Worcester and Falcons try to avoid drop spot

Newcastle Falcons boss Dean Richards
Newcastle Falcons boss Dean Richards

Dean Richards is wasting little time fretting over the permutations which will keep his Newcastle Falcons side in the Premiership.

Victory at London Wasps a week on Saturday or at home to Exeter the Saturday after would be enough to ensure top-flight rugby at Kingston Park next term.

Currently eight points clear of Worcester, Newcastle’s survival could also be guaranteed a week on Saturday should the Warriors fail to win away at league leaders Saracens, the side against whom Newcastle chalked up a losing bonus point in Sunday’s 23-18 defeat.

Asked whether that bonus point would be enough to decide a relegation battle which has been running for months, Richards said with a shrug: “I don’t know, to be honest.

“I will tell you at the end of the season.

“Hopefully it will not be too important.

“We have got to go away to London Wasps and then we have Exeter at home on the final day.

“If we turn in a performance in one or both of those like we did against Saracens last Sunday, then we will get something out of it.”

Weighing up the prospects of Worcester getting a result at Allianz Park, the Kingston Park boss said: “Saracens are consistent in everything they do, and that consistency is at a really high level.

“If Saracens put their top side out then it will be a very difficult day at the office for Worcester, but we will have to wait and see.”

Despite Newcastle being win-less in their last 14 in the league, Richards remains positive about the progress being made, especially at home, where they received warm applause on Sunday for a performance of ambition and endeavour.

“Other than losing to Worcester a couple of weeks ago, which was really disappointing, I think we have done reasonably well over the last few months at home,” he said.

“We have certainly had a go at Kingston Park, and we will carry on doing that.”

Bouncing back on Sunday from a 40-12 loss at London Irish the week before, Richards added: “The boys are not afraid to put their bodies on the line, as they showed against Sarries.

“There is no doubt about the fact the boys will keep going until the final whistle.

“Down at London Irish the week before we put in a terrible first half but came back fighting after the break, and the Irish coach said afterwards he gave his side credit for holding out when we were throwing everything at them.

“The boys will continue for 80 minutes, but you have got to understand we were playing against probably the most accurate and consistent side in the Premiership last weekend.”

Buoyed by a dominant scrum against a Saracens side including Lions tight-head Matt Stevens, Richards said: “A lot of the areas in and around the scrummage are down to interpretation.

“We got penalised at the first scrum when I felt their loose-head had come right out, up and through. There is a bit of give and take on that, and I felt we got penalised a couple of times and they did as well.

“Overall we held our own pretty well, and at times had dominance there.”

Now facing another free weekend as the Premiership season pauses to allow for the European semi-finals, the director of rugby added: “In some ways you want to bottle the Saracens game and carry it straight forward into the next weekend.

“We have not got that option with another break in the fixture list, but we have spoken with the players about it and we will be back into things after a couple of days off this week.”

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