Thursday 15 August 2013 Written by: Adam

Playing the first of three warm-up games as preparations crank up for the start of the brand new Aviva Premiership campaign, Falcons’ wing ace Ryan Shortland crossed the whitewash with two minutes remaining to secure a draw for Richards’ men.

“I was very happy with the performances of a lot of our players,” said Richards whose outfit will do it all again with the West Countryman at Kingston Park on the opening weekend of the Premiership season.

He added: “Coming to Beziers has been a very worthwhile experience all in all, and we got a real mixture of teams going out.

“In the first 40 we couldn’t quite get that cohesion together, trailing 14-0 at half-time, but in the second-half that little bit of experience in certain areas made a difference for us.”

The exhibition match against Gary Gold’s troops which ended 21 apiece, gave the Falcons boss the chance to try new combinations and new personnel.

Richards said: “People can read too much into pre-season friendlies at times, although clearly they are an important part of our preparation.

“The French have a phrase for friendly matches. It is ‘mis en place,’ which means ‘putting things in place,’ and I think that is a great way of looking at it.

“That is not to say that the result is unimportant, because it is never unimportant. But at the same time it gives you a great opportunity to try other things, some things you would not ordinarily get the chance to do.”

The northeasterners host Connacht on Saturday 24 August in the penultimate game ahead of the main course that is the Premiership.