Dean Richards happy with Newcastle ahead of semi-final clash

Last Updated April 19 2018, 12:24Rugby Union
Newcastle celebrate their late try
Newcastle celebrate their late try

Dean Richards says Newcastle are "absolutely raring to go" as they target their first appearance in a European final.

The Falcons head to Aviva Premiership rivals Gloucester on Friday, having already won at Kingsholm this season in the league.

The winners will face Cardiff Blues or Pau in next month's Challenge Cup final, and Newcastle rugby director Richards does not want to see his team suffer semi-final agony for a second time this season.

Newcastle lost an Anglo-Welsh Cup semi-final to Exeter in March, and Richards said: "It really annoyed me because I love winning, and we were within reach of a final.

"We didn't turn up on the day, we probably didn't pay Exeter enough respect, and that certainly won't be the case on Friday.

"It is all about understanding who we've got, what they can do and then going out and delivering what we have talked about.

"There are a few changes due to injuries, guys coming back and some boys not being registered for Europe, but the upshot is that we have fresh legs taking the field and a group of guys who are absolutely raring to go."

Scrum-half Michael Young will captain Newcastle instead of an injured Will Welch, with Maxime Mermoz and Josh Matavesi forming the centre partnership, lock Sean Robinson replacing Will Witty and back-row pair Evan Olmstead and Ryan Burrows also gaining starts.

Gloucester will bid to reach a third Challenge Cup final in four seasons, having won the trophy three years ago and then losing to Stade Francais last term.

Head coach Johan Ackermann has made a number of changes from the side that beat Premiership opponents Harlequins last weekend.

Wing Tom Marshall returns to action, replacing Charlie Sharples, while it is all change in the front-row with Paddy McAllister, Motu Matu'u and Fraser Balmain starting, and lock Mariano Galarza and flanker Ruan Ackermann also feature.

"There is obviously a lot at stake, and both sides showed some good qualities last weekend," Johan Ackermann said.

"We've played each other three times already (this season), so it is not an unknown factor. Both teams know each other quite well, so it makes the contest quite intriguing.

"Newcastle are the one side to come and beat us at Kingsholm in the league, which shows their quality, but we went there and beat them. So, it just shows how well-balanced the two teams are.

"We can't afford any complacency. The reality is that they will come down with a lot of confidence, as they are doing well in the Premiership and have beaten us here before.

"We have to make sure that we get out of the blocks."

Related rugby union links

Most Read

Jeffrey De Zwaan knocks out Michael van Gerwen (Picture: Lawrence Lustig/PDC)1

1/50 MVG out of World Matchplay

Michael van Gerwen was 1/50 to beat Jeffrey De Zwaan on the opening night of the World Matchplay - but suffered a huge upset in Blackpool.

Frank Lampard watches his Derby side in action2

Pre-season results round-up

Frank Lampard's preparations for the new Sky Bet Championship season continued as his Derby County side beat Southampton.

The latest transfer news for Saturday July 213

Transfer Daily: latest updates

The latest transfer rumours and completed deals with a number of European giants looking to get business done.

It promises to be a thrilling final day at the Open4

The Open: R4 betting preview

Ben Coley looks at the state of play at the Open Championship, where Stewart Cink is backed to beat Thomas Pieters.

Sea Of Class5

Sea Of Class claims Irish Oaks glory

Sea Of Class got up in the shadow of the post to land a thrilling victory in the Darley Irish Oaks at the Curragh.

Most Read

Jeffrey De Zwaan knocks out Michael van Gerwen (Picture: Lawrence Lustig/PDC)1

1/50 MVG out of World Matchplay

Michael van Gerwen was 1/50 to beat Jeffrey De Zwaan on the opening night of the World Matchplay - but suffered a huge upset in Blackpool.

Frank Lampard watches his Derby side in action2

Pre-season results round-up

Frank Lampard's preparations for the new Sky Bet Championship season continued as his Derby County side beat Southampton.

The latest transfer news for Saturday July 213

Transfer Daily: latest updates

The latest transfer rumours and completed deals with a number of European giants looking to get business done.

It promises to be a thrilling final day at the Open4

The Open: R4 betting preview

Ben Coley looks at the state of play at the Open Championship, where Stewart Cink is backed to beat Thomas Pieters.

Sea Of Class5

Sea Of Class claims Irish Oaks glory

Sea Of Class got up in the shadow of the post to land a thrilling victory in the Darley Irish Oaks at the Curragh.

Racing Tips

Check out our free horse racing selections and preview for today's action

Sunday's racing preview

Anita Chambers expects David O'Meara to have a good day at Redcar and has a tip for every race in the UK and Ireland.

Find out who our team are backing ahead of today's racing

Sporting Life: Daily Nap

Dave Ord previews Sunday's cards with the Sporting Life Daily Nap running at Redcar, while he also has two more fancies on the afternoon.

Get your bets on!

Our best bets

Check out all of our available betting tips and previews of the forthcoming sporting action.

Next Race Off
10:00 Bangalore
10
(5)
Vanity Fair
J: Ryan Marshall
9
(1)
Spiritous
J: Nazerul Alam
8
(9)
Songkran
J: T S Jodha

Football Tips

Neymar in action for Brazil against Serbia

Sporting Life: Tipping record

A look at how the Sporting Life recommended bets have performed in July 2018.

Get your bets on!

Our best bets

Check out all of our available betting tips and previews of the forthcoming sporting action.

We have two best bets for the World Cup final

World Cup final betting tips

There's a David v Goliath battle in the World Cup final but will France prove just one game too far for Croatia? Paul Higham has two best bets.