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Dean Richards eyes Bath scalp as Newcastle target Premiership safety

Published 17/03/2016

Newcastle rugby director Dean Richards is relishing his team's Aviva Premiership clash against Bath on Friday
Newcastle rugby director Dean Richards is relishing his team's Aviva Premiership clash against Bath on Friday

Newcastle boss Dean Richards has vowed that his players will "throw absolutely everything" into Friday's Aviva Premiership clash against Bath at the Recreation Ground.

The Falcons are chasing a season's league double over Bath - a feat they last achieved during their 1997-98 Premiership title-winning campaign - having toppled the west country club 19-14 earlier this term.

Newcastle are eight points, but only two places, behind Bath and sit in 11th spot, and a win at The Rec would take them at least 12 points clear of bottom club and relegation favourites London Irish.

"It has probably been a bit of a surprise for everybody this year to see where they (Bath) are," Falcons rugby director Richards said.

"Like us, they have had a few injuries and people out throughout the year. It goes to show that does impact on teams. They will be missing some guys, but we also have a lot injured, and both sides are impacted.

"Bath clawed their way back into last Friday's game at Harlequins during the last 20 minutes and showed what they can do.

"But our recent form has been good, and we know we will have to put in one hell of a performance. We will throw absolutely everything we have into it.

"They have got some quality players and a huge amount of depth.

" Their forwards lay the platform for them, and we will have to compete with that. We need to make sure we play in the right parts of the field."

Richards has made four changes from the side beaten by Exeter in Devon last weekend for another long trip south.

Front-row forwards Rob Vickers and Taione Vea replace Alex Rogers and Mike Cusack, respectively, while wing Marcus Watson takes over from wing Sinoti Sinoti and full-back Simon Hammersley is in for Alex Tait.

Bath, meanwhile, hand a first Premiership start to wing Jeff Williams, with lock Stuart Hooper returning as captain alongside Wales international Dominic Day in the second row and prop David Wilson also featuring.

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