Aviva Premiership
Richards: 'London clubs think they rule the game'
ESPN Staff
August 22, 2013
Newcastle Falcons boss Dean Richards at the Championship launch, Twickenham, London, August 21, 2012
Is Dean Richards the Falcons' saviour? Only time will tell © Getty Images

Dean Richards has said he wants to help change the balance of power within the English game as he looks to on-field success with his newly promoted Newcastle Falcons.

The Falcons bounced back at the first opportunity after being relegated to the Championship at the end of the 2011-12 season. They start the new Aviva Premiership season at home to Bath on September 6 and for Richards, it will be his first game back in the top flight after he was banned following his role in the infamous 'Bloodgate' scandal.

For Richards, he feels the balance of the game currently lies with the London sides and he hopes a solid showing from his Falcons will increase the profile of rugby in the North. Richards told the Telegraph: "There is this conglomerate of clubs in the London area which think they rule the game and we need to restore the balance of power a little bit towards the North.

"If we can get Leeds back as well, it will make a massive difference to the sport as a national game. We don't want to just be a northern outpost here. People forget the rich heritage rugby union has in the North East. There is great tradition up here and the Falcons can tap into that. The surface hasn't been scratched really and I think this club can go on to really surprise people over the next few years."

The Falcons are currently favourites to finish at the foot of the Premiership with bet365 but Richards is not worried by predictions they will struggled this term.

"I've been here before and seen it before," Richards added. "It doesn't faze me if we're tipped to struggle, but I think genuine rugby people will see we've got a balanced team and, barring too many injuries, we'll not be fighting it out down the bottom.

"I hope people don't get the wrong idea when I say I'm not thinking about survival. I want to stay up, but I don't want to be down the bottom, I want to be a little bit higher up. If I have a goal, it's to win every game, or at least have a chance of winning. Rome wasn't built in a day, but the changes from when I arrived last August to today have been absolutely massive and there will be more changes over the next three or four years. It's about getting into a position where we are always up at the top, fighting for silverware."

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