Monday 16 September 2013 Written by: Adam

Richards watched on as Newcastle Falcons edged the Greater Manchester club 15-14 at the newly-named AJ Bell Stadium.

Four penalties from the boot of Phil Godman coupled with Rory Clegg’s clincher 13 minutes from time ensured the northeasterners opened up their account for the season.

“Full credit to our boys, look at the defence in the last five, 10 minutes,” said Richards, who now prepares for this Saturday’s trip to Leicester Tigers.

“I thought we were under the cosh a little bit because we were quite happy to give them possession but I thought we defended extremely well, putting our bodies on the line, and that was probably the thing that got us the result,” he added.

The conditions were a significant improvement on last week’s encounter at home to Bath Rugby, but the Falcons still had to contend with a greasy surface.

Richards said: “You look at the conditions last week, atrocious conditions, and we turn up today and it’s pretty poor conditions again.

“In the first two weeks of the season you expect either sunshine or some reasonable conditions. We’ve had neither so far and we’ve come away with a win and a loss.”

Sale director of rugby Steve Diamond admits Newcastle were the better outfit after the break, saying: “Second-half I thought they were a far better, streetwise team than ourselves. They didn’t allow us to play and a couple of decisions went against us.

“I’m thoroughly disappointed. That’s how it goes but, on their second-half performance, I think they deserved their win.”