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Falcons win leaves Richards aiming high

Newcastle Falcons moved up to sixth place in the Aviva Premiership with a 24-22 win over Bath and director of rugby Dean Richards believes they can now win every game.

Victory banished any thoughts of relegation and instead, the Tynesiders look genuine contenders for a place in next season's European Cup.

"We knew it was going to be nip and tuck because they are a really good side," said Richards. "The boys had belief and really stuck at it.

"We went 12 points down and just went for it. They showed a lot of courage to do that and come back against a side like Bath."

The Falcons trailed 17-7 and 22-10 after two tries from Semesa Rokoduguni and one from George Ford, who also kicked five points but wasted several other chances.

That allowed Newcastle to turn things around as Mark Wilson and Ben Harris added to Vereniki Goneva's early score, with Joel Hodgson adding all three conversions and a penalty.

Richards continued: " The crowd were outstanding, especially that last five minutes, the players came in afterwards and said the crowd carried them through.

"But the players have to take a lot of credit themselves. We leaked a couple of soft tries but this side does have belief and to go out there and come back and win a game.

"I didn't say much at half-time, the players were saying it themselves and you don't have to say anything when they do that.

"We don't get the rub of the green in terms of decisions because we're not an in-vogue side, so we have to work hard for anything we get. The boys understand that and until we start winning titles and championships then we'll be in that position, but they do believe they can go out and win every game."

Richards' opposite number at Bath, Todd Blackadder, dismissed criticism of England star Ford after he missed four kicks at goal at Kingston Park.

Ford, despite scoring a penalty just before half-time and a try just after which he converted, missed three penalties and another conversion.

"George didn't have a great night by his standards but he is a great player and he'll bounce back, I'm sure of that," said Blackadder, who has seen his side slip to defeat late on in their last two games to put their top-four place in the Premiership in doubt.

"I'm very disappointed that we couldn't close out the game," he conceded. "We had a terrible first half. We were lucky we came away with anything at half-time.

"It was a big game for us so I'm disappointed with the way we started and then we managed to get ourselves back in the game, gained control, and then let it slip again.

"We didn't do the basics very well under pressure and that's not acceptable.

"It's all about pressure. You have to do the basics well week in, week out, and the last two weeks we haven't done that. The last two games we've had control and let it slip and it's just not good enough.

"There's always positives you can take from a game and at times we're playing some really good rugby, but if you want to be a top-four team you've got to then be really clinical, you've got to be ruthless to get back in the game, and in the last 15-20 minutes to let it slip like that was very disappointing.

"I think at times we're almost beating ourselves, but well done to Newcastle for the spirit they showed, they didn't give in."

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