Dream start has Falcons
But Richards sounds a note of caution on team’s chances
IT’S been a while since the Newcastle Falcons have had it this good.
You can forgive some supporters for already whispering about the prospect of a top-six finish and facing Europe’s elite next season.
Not that director of rugby Dean Richards is interested in that kind of talk just yet.
“It means absolutely nothing at all,” he said after his side moved to the top of the Premiership for the first time since September 2004, thanks to Friday’s 29-17 win over London Irish.
“We’ve got 17 games left and if we’re there at the end of the season, I’ll be absolutely delighted as will everybody else.
“But if we are then, it’ll be a Leicester City scenario, won’t it? We haven’t quite got the depth that a lot of these other boys have got but having said that, we are there and let’s see how well we get on.”
The victory was the club’s fourth in their first five games, their best start since the title-winning 1997/98 season.
Expectations – and attendances – are beginning to grow at Kingston Park as confidence returns to a club that has been on its knees for so long since then.
But Richards, the architect of the transformation, is keen to temper early optimism and is still refusing to set any specific goals for his side this season.
He added: “We just take each game as it comes and enter each game with a view to winning it.
“We’re not that type of side that will look at the season and say, ‘We want to finish as European champions or Premiership championships’, but what we do look at is each game and how we try and win it.” A largely comfortable victory at Kingston Park had some of the gloss taken off it in the final 20 minutes as the Falcons conceded two tries to set up a more tense finish than was necessary. Richards made it clear he wasn’t happy with his side’s second-half display, calling it “frustrating” after the match. Ultimately the game was largely out of sight by that point in any case, with captain Will Welch scoring the 60th-minute try that secured the vital bonus point. Considering Newcastle picked up only five try-scoring bonus points in the entirety of last season, it’s easy to see why their attack has earned plaudits after racking up three in just five games this year. Despite his f r u s t r a t i o n s about how his