Newcastle Falcons director of rugby Dean Richards has praised his side’s work ethic and togetherness after a dramatic 23-20 home win over Montpellier last weekend in Heineken Champions Cup Pool 5. 

The English club scored an 89th minute try through flanker Callum Chick after a remarkable 39 phases to seal a second victory over French opposition in as many weekends, after the Falcons defeated RC Toulon 26-25 at Stade Felix Mayol in Round 1. 

The Round 2 victory delighted Richards, who has previously won the European Cup on two occasions with Leicester Tigers in 2001 and 2002. 

“Some teams would have just turned round and said ‘let’s put it out and take the bonus point’, but that’s not us,” said the 55-year-old former England No.8. “When you’re in that position, you may as well go for it and we had faith.  

“We don’t have as many internationals or as big a budget as other teams in our group, but you can’t put a price on the togetherness and work ethic the boys have for each other.” 

The win over Montpellier took Newcastle one step closer to a dream Heineken Champions Cup final at St James’ Park, home of Newcastle United FC, next May. 

But Richards is keen to take one game at a time and looked no further ahead than their Round 3 clash with Edinburgh Rugby on December 7 at BT Murrayfield. 

“I’ve absolutely no idea what we can achieve in Europe this season,” Richards added. “We’ll see how far it gets us at the end of the season, but we’ll just try and win the next game – as we always do, rather than making bold forecasts. 

“It’s all about the players – they love defying the odds and we’ve given ourselves a crack.  

“We have back-to-back games against Edinburgh in December, which promise to be great occasions, but between now and then we have important games in the cup and the league, so we’re not getting ahead of ourselves.”