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Richards: We'll go strong for Friday's Euro opener

The 8pm kick-off sees the Falcons starting a European journey which also includes trips to French clubs Biarritz and Toulon as well as a home date with Italian side Zebre, and Richards is out to seize the initiative by starting the tournament at full tilt. “We’re putting out as strong a side as possible on Friday night,” said Richards. “Like most teams we have a lot of injuries and niggles, but at the same time this is a trophy we want to win and a great opportunity to make a really positive start. “With having a bye week the following weekend it gives us a chance to manage our squad and put out a strong side in Europe, and that’s what we’ll be doing.” Newcastle and Worcester drew 24-24 when they met at Kingston Park under a fortnight ago in league action, and Richards also revealed that a host of stars could be re-appearing before too long. “Mark Wilson should be back within the next two to three weeks, as should Matias Orlando and Sam Stuart,” said the director of rugby, whose side host Sale Sharks on Boxing Day. “Mateo Carreras and Michael Young should then be back in the next three to four weeks, all things being well, and we’ve got a number of boys who are getting closer to making their returns.” Click here to buy tickets for Friday’s game. Season ticket members are reminded this match is already included in their 2021-22 package. Click here for a guide on how the EPCR Challenge Cup tournament works.

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