Opposition view: Richards salutes bench stars after Falcons beat Saints
Dean Richards hailed his super-subs after Newcastle Falcons saw off Saints at Kingston Park on Monday night.
Falcons had fallen 10-3 down early in the second half after Paul Hill finished off a well-worked Saints score.
But Newcastle, who had been on the front foot for most of the first half, kept going and eventually earned an 18-10 success in front of 1,750 returning fans.
Falcons boss Richards was delighted with how his replacements helped to engineer the victory.
And he said: “We’re getting there as a team, and fingers crossed we can get a few more fans in for the Worcester game.
“I was pleased with the impact our bench made today, with guys like Carl Fearns contributing well.
"All the replacements made a difference when it was needed, and that was big for us.
“We talked at half-time about being relentless, and even when they went ahead I honestly never felt we were going to lose.
“We kept putting them under pressure, and I loved seeing that.”
Monday's match was the first that supporters could attend since December as government restrictions were eased earlier in the day.
“They made a hell of a noise for 1,750 people, and it’s just great to see them here again," Richards said.
“Sport is all about occasions and atmosphere, and we’re getting back to that again.
“I thought 3-3 at half-time was an odd scoreline because it had actually been a decent game with lots of attack and possession, but maybe the accuracy didn’t match the endeavour.
“We spoke about that at half-time, but even at 3-3 the crowd weren’t on our case because they could see the effort the lads were showing.”