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Dean Richards keen to see Newcastle build on Bath victory

Published 02/01/2016

Newcastle director of rugby Dean Richards saluted his side's first Aviva Premiership win of the season
Newcastle director of rugby Dean Richards saluted his side's first Aviva Premiership win of the season

Director of rugby Dean Richards hopes Newcastle's first Aviva Premiership win of the season can galvanise the Falcons ahead of their clash with fellow strugglers London Irish next week.

Roared on by their biggest crowd of the season at Kingston Park, Newcastle clinched their maiden four-point haul of the domestic campaign after defeating Bath 19-14.

The Falcons trailed 14-13 heading into the last 10 minutes but youngster Craig Willis booted two penalties, one on the final whistle, to lift his side off the foot of the table.

London Irish now prop up the standings but will have the opportunity to move back up to 11th when they welcome the Falcons to the Madejski Stadium next Sunday - although Richards wants his side to be buoyed by Saturday's triumph.

"It's a great start to the year," he said. "I thought we deserved the win. Okay, we missed a few points, but we came up with the goods and deserved it.

"The boys stuck to their guns and it's probably the first time this season we've done that.

"Now we need to take that into the game at London Irish and build on it."

In the week that Newcastle signed 35-year-old Andy Goode as cover at fly-half, Willis, 15 years Goode's junior, missed three shots at goal, but showed no nerves to step up and clinch the points for the Falcons at the death.

"All I was thinking was leather it between the posts and make sure it went into the stand so they couldn't run it back at us," he said of kicking his fourth and final penalty.

"It's a great start to the year. We've never stepped off the gas and we've never let our heads drop and it's up to us to go forward from here.

"It's great that Andy Goode has signed for us. I hope to learn a lot from him about game management and tap into his experience."

After an early Bath try from skipper Guy Mercer, Willis caught the eye with some great runs and kicked two first-half penalties and converted Rob Vickers' 20th-minute try.

Rhys Priestland's three penalties gave Bath a narrow lead heading into the closing stages but Willis put the Falcons back in front with a three-pointer and then added another in the final minute.

Bath have been good on the road this season but boss Mike Ford was not happy with his side this time out.

He said: "Credit to Newcastle - they defended really well but our players really need to have a look at themselves and question whether they were really ready to play.

"It was wet and windy, but then it often is here. We have to look forward but we also have to be truthful and it's all about responsibility and you cannot just expect to turn up and win.

"The players are back in on Tuesday and I expect them to hold up their hands, talk about it and then move on."

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