Dean Richards: Newcastle Falcons director of rugby confident USA trip a success

Newcastle Falcons training in Philadelphia

Newcastle Falcons director of rugby Dean Richards is positive that rugby union will see rewards from their showcasing their Premiership game against Saracens on 16 September.

The second Premiership game to be played in the USA, which Falcons lost 29-7, drew a crowd of 6,000.

“Rugby union as a whole has got a reasonable amount out of it,” Richards told BBC Newcastle.

“It’s promoted the game, promoted the Premiership and created interest.”

He continued: “There were a few glitches along the way but, on the whole, the whole thing was a reasonable success.”

In March 2016, Saracens beat London Irish 26-16 in front of 14,800 at the Red Bull Arena in New Jersey.

There will continue to be one Premiership game a season in the USA for the next three seasons.

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Richards, head coach Dave Walder and the rest of the coaching staff have given the players plenty of time to rest since returning, in preparation for their game at Bath on Saturday.

Coping with high temperatures was one issue that both Richards and his players picked up on from the match, but their overall experience was largely positive.

The squad visited the Philadelphia Phillies baseball team and watched a game, as well as taking part in various promotional activities.

“The whole occasion was great other than the game on the Saturday,” Richards said. “We found the weather difficult on the day. Will Welch said we’re used to single digits in temperature.

“On some days out there, it was 100 degrees by the pool, and so when the boys went out to play they off the mark in terms of that that heat would do to us.

“The event itself, in terms of going out there and promoting the game in Philadelphia – what we got out of it as a team was pretty good actually.

“Bonding was a big part of it. The plus side is we had that access time with the players that you don’t ordinarily get as well. So it’s not just the bonding, it’s everything that is a part of it.”