Forward focus for Richards as Falcons look to prove a point

Thursday 15 September 2016 Written by: Adam

Having gone through pre-season unbeaten and then starting the Aviva Premiership with a home win over Sale Sharks, the director of rugby’s side suffered a torrid afternoon at Bath last Saturday as they fell to a 58-5 defeat.

Admitting the video had been a tough watch but insisting lessons had been learned, Richards said: “It was one of those days.

“We had somebody sin-binned, and whether the decision was right or wrong is irrelevant. It happened and we didn’t react to it, and it’s one of those positions where it can really hurt you. In that situation you have to adapt accordingly, we didn’t and it came back to haunt us.

“A class player like George Ford capitalised, he has been outstanding all season and he is by far one of the best players in Europe. He just controlled it, even when we got a foot in the door he pinned us back and I’ve not seen as controlling a performance from a No 10 in a long time.

“Everybody here was embarrassed about the performance, to be honest with you. If you turn in a good performance and come out second best then so be it, but if you don’t put in a good performance then that is when you find it very difficult.

“This week has been about turning it round, making sure we go out there on Sunday and give it our all. I’m not saying the boys didn’t give it their all at Bath, but some just weren’t quite switched on, we weren’t at the races and there is no hiding place in a league as tough as the Aviva Premiership.”

Given some tough choices after seeing his second-string pile on the points on Monday, Richards said: “Selection has been difficult with our A-Team playing so well on Monday night, beating Northampton 38-21. The likes of Josh Chisanga, Nick Civetta, Sam Egerton, Craig Willis, Andrew Davidson and a number of others are really knocking on the door, and all these boys are coming through.

“Chris Harris will not be involved after injuring his ankle and he was a sad loss going off at Bath, because he has been playing particularly well. He will be out for a little while. We are still waiting for his results to come back and then he needs to go down and see the surgeon, and then Marcus Watson on the wing still hasn’t recovered from the Achilles injury which he picked up during the Olympics. He is still a couple of weeks away.”

Confident that the forward focus can see Newcastle resume their winning mind-set, the former England and Lions great insisted: “The lads are absolutely up for it.

“Of course we have looked at the Bath game and taken lessons from it, but at the same time we have put it behind us now and moved on. We have a massive point to prove on Sunday and there is a real determination to make that happen.”

Tickets for Sunday’s visit of Leicester Tigers are available by calling 0871 226 6060 or [**clicking here**.][1] The 3pm kick-off is followed at 5.15pm on the main field when Newcastle Thunder rugby league contest their Kingstone Press League 1 Shield final with North Wales Crusaders. Those attending the Falcons v Leicester game can stay on for the game at no additional cost.