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Dean Richards expects a response from Newcastle after Bath defeat

Published 17/09/2016

Dean Richards will send Newcastle into Aviva Premiership action against his former club Leicester on Sunday
Dean Richards will send Newcastle into Aviva Premiership action against his former club Leicester on Sunday

Dean Richards has underlined the need for Newcastle to "deliver a performance" against Aviva Premiership opponents Leicester on Sunday after being sunk without trace at Bath last weekend.

Newcastle return home to Kingston Park, where they will face Falcons rugby director Richards' former club on the back of a 58-5 drubbing.

And ex-England star Richards, who made more than 300 appearances in Leicester colours before coaching them to four successive Premiership titles and a European Cup double, knows the importance of an immediate response.

"We have put the Bath game to bed now, and you look forward," Richards said. "You can't look at it any other way.

"Eight tries to one speaks for itself, and nobody is hiding from that. You have to address it - and we have - but there also comes a point where you have to put it behind you.

"They (Leicester) have been top-four finishers for most years out of the last 20, and they have a consistency which is probably unrivalled. We know what they are about.

"Having defeated them up here relatively recently, we certainly don't fear them, but it's making sure we pick ourselves up after last week and deliver a performance.

"Like ourselves, Leicester will also be smarting after losing at home to Wasps last weekend. I spent a long time down there, and I know exactly what they will come up and bring. It will be an intense, physical battle."

Ally Hogg starts for Newcastle in a reshuffled back-row, with Mark Wilson moving to blindside flanker and Evan Olmstead featuring at lock instead of Will Witty. Former England Saxons centre Dominic Waldouck, meanwhile, makes his full Premiership debut in Newcastle colours, replacing an injured Chris Harris.

England centre Manu Tuilagi is again absent for Leicester - Peter Betham and Owen Williams team up in midfield - while scrum-half Ben Youngs makes his first start of the season and wing Telusa Veainu is back after missing the Wasps defeat. Mathew Tait captains the Tigers against his former club.

Wasps captain Joe Launchbury, meanwhile, misses Bristol's visit to the Ricoh Arena on Sunday with what his club describe as "a slight groin strain," so James Gaskell returns to action and skippers the side.

Bristol boss Andy Robinson makes seven changes from the side beaten by Northampton at home last Sunday, with full-back Jordan Williams, centre Thretton Palamo and prop Ryan Bevington called up, together with Bevington's fellow forwards Anthony Perenise, Joe Joyce, Olly Robinson and Mitch Eadie.

Assessing Bristol's challenge, Wasps rugby director Dai Young said: "We are aware Sunday's match could be something of a banana skin for us, having made a positive start to our Premiership campaign.

"In professional sport, you have to look forward very quickly, and the only thing that counts is the performance this Sunday. We must back up our two wins (against Exeter and Leicester), otherwise they will count for nothing.

"We know exactly how tough a proposition Bristol will be, having played them in pre-season when we were lucky to come away with the win. If we're honest, they probably should have beaten us that day.

"They are a decent team who will definitely pick up wins soon, and we need to make sure it's not against us."

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