Dean Richards praised the composure of his young guns as Newcastle Falcons ground out a 27-25 European Challenge Cup win at Dragons on Friday night.
The director of rugby said: “It was a cracking game of rugby which had a bit of everything.
“In the first half it was end-to-end and quite an open game, it sorted itself out a bit after that and truth be told it could have gone either way at the end.
“Fair dues to the Dragons because they went for the try at the end rather than kicking the penalty. I don’t know if that was the right choice or not because it gave us the opportunity to win the game, and thankfully we did.”
Adam Radwan and Zach Kibirige crossed for early tries as Newcastle established a 14-0 lead, Richards saying: “Radders took his try well even though it was a bit of a walk-over, and Zach had a little bit more to do.
“Both lads have a lot of pace and showed a clean pair of heels, and it was also nice for Gary Graham to get on the scoresheet from a fantastic Sam Stuart offload. That was probably the highlight for me.”
Blessed with squad depth, the Falcons boss admitted: “Selection is really difficult at the moment because there are so many boys putting their hands up.
“The more they play the better they become, and we’ve got a good squad of 45-50 really strong players at this level. They’re all genuinely competing for a spot, and the beauty tonight was that our younger boys really stepped up. They’re growing in experience, they’re showing their worth and they’re really maturing.”
Remaining top of their Challenge Cup group with four wins from four, Richards added: “The decisions at scrum time in Newport seemed to become a little bit of a lottery for both teams but we dogged it out, our maul defence improved towards the end and we dogged it out. That’s what matters.
“We’re in good shape in this tournament and we want to finish off the group in style with two tough games against Enisei. They are getting better all the time, and with our Premiership hat on we’re also keen to keep on getting results.
“Harlequins next Saturday is a big game for us, selection will be extremely tough and it will be interesting to see which way we go on that.”
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