Monday 27 January 2014 Written by: Adam

Four academy products were handed starts by Richards, while a string of players made their senior bows from the bench.

And despite being on the wrong end of a 41-8 result, Richards singled out George McGuigan and Zach Kibirige with both stepping up to the mark at Allianz Park.

“I don’t know who appoints the man-of-the-match but George McGuigan was by far head and shoulders above everyone else, and I thought he was outstanding on the day,” said the Falcons chief.

“Zach showed what he’s all about too and these boys are really young lads who are developing into quality players.

“We wanted to give these boys an opportunity and they are disappointed in the changing room. There were a lot of really good individual performances, but when you make 20-odd changes like we did it was always going to be a bit disjointed – there are lots of positives we can take into the Newport Gwent Dragons game,” he added.

15-8 down at the break, the northeasterners were very much in the contest, but a second half display of the highest order from Saracens put Richards’ fledglings to the sword.

“For a large part of the game we gave a good account of ourselves and I don’t think the result reflected how the game went,” said the Falcons chief.

He added: “At the end of the day Saracens were just a bit more clinical than we were on the day. We had our chances in the first half with a few line breaks but we just didn’t take our opportunities.

“I was pleased with a lot of stuff but ultimately we lost the game.”

Tickets are still available for this Friday’s LV= Cup clash at home to Newport by calling the Falcons Ticket Hotline on 0871 226 6060 or [click here][1] to purchase online.