Dean Richards confident for Newcastle Falcons season

Newcastle Falcons director of rugby Dean Richards is confident the squad he has assembled is capable of returning to the Premiership next season.

Falcons were relegated after an appeal by London Welsh ensured they took their place in the top flight following May's Championship play-off success.

"The squad is looking good on paper," the former Harlequins and Leicester coach told BBC Look North.

"It's a squad more than capable of going back up - it's everybody's goal."

Falcons and London Welsh?

London Welsh lift the Championship title
  • Falcons finished bottom of the Premiership in May, and would have been automatically relegated but for issues regarding the teams competing for promotion from the Championship
  • London Welsh, who won the Championship play-off against Cornish Pirates, initially had their application to join the Premiership rejected as their proposed groundshare with League Two football club Oxford United did not meet the necessary criteria for entry into the division
  • Welsh subsequently appealed, and the appeal panel upheld the club's argument that the criteria they failed to meet contravened EU and UK competition laws
  • Falcons were henceforth relegated and London Welsh took their place as a top flight club for the 2012-13 season

Richards, who guided Harlequins back to the Premiership at the first time of asking following their relegation in 2005 , has no issue with the appeal decision that saw the Falcons demotion two months after their Premiership campaign came to an end.

"It wasn't any different to Falcons not getting the points they wanted at Wasps and being relegated," Richards added.

"They were given a tenuous lifeline, but it hasn't changed any preparations, we're all systems go.

"It hasn't changed anything, the players are here, and I'm looking forward to getting stuck in."

Meanwhile Richards has also completed the line-up of his backroom staff, notably with Peter Russell appointed as head coach.

"Peter has a great track record over in New Zealand,"

"He has developed sides in the past that have gone on to be successful and he is partnered by John Wells.

"There's a great blend there, one is flair orientated, the other not so, and Graham Steadman who has a good track record at international level - the three will guide us through.

"Then you've got Calum MacRae and Micky Ward, and a whole host of other backroom guys who are absolutely fantastic.

"It's been a breath of fresh air, and it's a great little set-up."