Dean Richards declared himself largely satisfied after Newcastle Falcons began pre-season with a pair of victories at Kingston Park Stadium on Saturday, beating Doncaster Knights 31-8 and Nottingham 49-19.
Two solid run-outs against Championship opposition saw a total of 43 players used by the director of rugby, who said afterwards: “It’s not so much the result when it comes to pre-season games, it’s how you play. It’s how you adapt to situations, how you react, and we generally made things happen.
“Against Doncaster we didn’t have much ball for the first 20 minutes, we found it tough to break them down but when we eventually got ourselves sorted we did. It was a gradual process in how it evolved, it was about understanding how they were defending and just making things happen from there.”
Pleased by the contribution of his squad as a whole, Richards said: “Some of our younger players really stood out like Charlie Wilson, Adam Radwan, Ben Stevenson, Trevor Davison, Ruaridh Dawson, and then a more established guy like Sinoti Sinoti was back to his best with a fantastic try from 60 metres. He’s fit and raring to go, and it’s exciting.
“Some of our debutants like Sam Stuart, Sami Mavinga – I could go on and list a load more – they all did well and it’s a decent starting point for our season.”
Kicking on from their Doncaster victory with another convincing showing against Nottingham, Richards said: “We scored early on against Nottingham, which isn’t always a good thing, and they came back into it.
“From half-time onwards we were generally two scores ahead, and it was another good game because they asked different questions of us to Doncaster. They challenged us in the line-out drive area, which is exactly what we needed, and it was interesting as a whole day.
“There was no preference in terms of hierarchy around who started. We said when we were away on camp that we wanted to do it this way, and I think it worked well. It showed that we have a lot of strength in depth – not just in the senior guys but also the youngsters who are with us.”
Newcastle Falcons are next in action on Saturday August 19 when they host Rotherham Titans in a 4.30pm kick-off. Tickets are available by clicking here.