Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Falcons' Selection Battle Has Richards Pondering

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Falcons' Selection Battle Has Richards Pondering

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Smith Twitter: @markismith50

DEAN Richards admits he might have some disgruntled players on his hands when he names his Newcastle Falcons team for Saturday's trip to Harlequins.

The director of rugby rested a number of his front-line stars for the back-to-back European dates with Stade Francais, his mixture of youngsters and fringe figures seizing their chance against the Parisian giants.

Balancing that with a league side which has won three of its last five is no easy task, Richards saying: "Selection this week has been difficult and there will be a few guys who will feel hard done by.

"You try and pick on form, and sometimes that form might have been two weeks ago just before the European games. Trying to marry the form from then to now is key."

Sinoti Sinoti was one player to make his feelings known at being rested for Europe, Richards taking his comments in the positive tone from which they were sent.

"It keeps them fresh, and it was interesting when Sinoti did his piece in The Journal the other week saying he was itching to play. For me I saw that as him wanting to keep his game going, and that is absolutely fine.

"When the guys come in and throw down the gauntlet during the European fortnight it really puts the pressure on to those players, and places are genuinely under threat.

"The young boys performed against Stade Francais, and someone like Chris Harris was absolutely outstanding in both games."

The Falcons endured their fair share of scrummaging woes in the French capital last week with senior tight-heads Kieran Brookes, Oliver Tomaszczyk and Scott Wilson all out injured. Alex Rogers deputised but picked up a head knock during the game, Richards moving to allay any fears of a front-row crisis.

"We didn't have many front-row forwards last week but we have got a few coming back, so we are happy enough with that," he said. …

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