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RFU Championship
Richards prepares for season of 'cup finals'
ESPN Staff
July 4, 2012
Gloucester's Rory Lawson celebrates his side's victory over Saracens, Gloucester v Saracens, Guinness Premiership, Kingsholm, Gloucester, England, April 3, 2010
Rory Lawson will play for the Falcons next term © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Dean Richards
Teams: England

Dean Richards claims that his side will have to be prepared for a season of 'cup finals' when the Newcastle Falcons line up in the RFU Championship next term.

The Falcons confirmed on Tuesday that they would not appeal the decision to promote London Welsh to the Aviva Premiership and are now preparing for life in England's second-tier. Newcastle have bolstered their squad in the close season with the likes of Scotland scrum-half Rory Lawson and will start the season as clear favourites to bounce straight back to the Premiership.

Richards has sounded a note of caution to his side and told them to expect every side in the division to be raising their games and treating matches against the Falcons as cup finals. Director of rugby Richards will take up his role in August after his three-year 'Bloodgate' suspension expires.

"I've got to see out my time, which is another five weeks, and once I've done that then I'll be in," Richards told Sky Sports. "But it's a long season. I'm not going to jump in too soon and it's all about where we finish at the end of the year.

"People believe that going down to the Championship, it's an easier division, but it's not actually, it's a very different division. It's far more challenging in certain ways, the quality of the referees are different and the style of play is different so I think it's going to be a hard year."

Richards was found guilty of instigating a plot to fake a blood injury during his time in charge of Harlequins in 2009 and when asked if the 'Bloodgate' scandal was behind him now, he said: "Yes, I think so. It's three years now.

"It's something obviously you regret but at the same time I'm not going to dwell on it. I'll see my time out and once it's done then I'll look back and reflect on it occasionally, obviously with regret, but at the same time I will be looking forward most of the time."

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