Director of rugby Dean Richards declared himself satisfied with Newcastle Falcons’ unbeaten run through the group stages of the European Challenge Cup following Saturday’s 33-19 win over Enisei-STM in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi.
The Falcons were made to work for their victory against a committed Russian outfit, Richards saying: “The Challenge Cup has been great for us, a number of guys have stepped up and we’re delighted with how they have gone as a group.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game today, and that Enisei would be a more difficult proposition over here in Georgia than they had been at Kingston Park last week.
“They are a quality side, we paid them full respect and they made us work hard for every point. It has been a learning curve for the players but it has been good, and we can look forward to the quarter-final stage now.”
Having to travel via Scotland and Turkey and with a four-hour time difference to contend with, the Falcons boss added: “It has been a good experience being over in Tbilisi and we have been very well looked after, although the travel and the time difference were always going to have an impact.
“Bearing that in mind I thought the boys acquitted themselves well, we were a little bit slow to get going but at the end of the day we got the result we wanted.
“We didn’t quite get the level of control that we wanted in the second half when we had the wind behind us, it was always going to be hard but we got there in the end.”
Captain Mark Wilson chipped in with one of five Newcastle tries, his side battling back from seven points down against the European Continental Shield holders.
“Conceding that early try wasn’t the ideal start but I was pleased with how we responded to it,” said the skipper.
“We were playing into the wind first half, we got the job done and now we can look forward to a home quarter-final.
“At times we weren’t quite there today but guys like Sam Lockwood and Simon Uzokwe got us some front-foot ball, that allowed us to get in behind them and we were able to convert from there.”
On Radwan’s hat-trick, his second inside a week, Wilson added: “It’s a good asset to have Adam’s pace and footwork in your side, he beats that first defender time after time and I thought the guys inside him played really well. You’ve got to get the ball out there, and we did.”