Newcastle Falcons boss Dean Richards hailed his Heineken Champions Cup heroes following Sunday’s 26-25 win in Toulon, but insisted they won’t rest on their laurels with Montpellier due at Kingston Park Stadium on Sunday October 21.
It was only the second time a side has won in Toulon in the Champions Cup.
Speaking after a dramatic opening-day triumph at Stade Felix Mayol against the three-time European champions, Richards said: “It was a hell of a game, the boys threw everything at it and it was fantastic that we came through and got the win that we deserved in the end.
“Our defence was strong, we played in the right areas and the tactics from the boys were outstanding. We got it right, and the players should take a huge amount of credit.
“There were a lot of lads out there who’ve never played Champions Cup rugby, and they didn’t look out of place at all. They acquitted themselves well on the day, and I’d also like to thank all the supporters who travelled over and gave us such great backing.”
Insisting Sunday’s memorable triumph was just the start of the journey, the director of rugby said: “I say every time that it’s not where you are at the start of a competition, it’s where you are at the end that counts.
“Today was a notable victory which is right up there with any other, but it’s only one victory and we have to now go out and back it up against Montpellier on Sunday.
“We’ve already parked it, the players have moved on to the next game and we know Montpellier will be a massive test. They’re a little bit like Toulon and it will be a hard game, and after today they’ll certainly not take us lightly.”
Reflecting on a game which his side going a try down inside the opening minute, he added: “We made the worst start possible by conceding a try from the kick-off, but we dug ourselves out of that hole.
“Toulon were probably a bit disjointed at times and didn’t show a lot of patience, but we didn’t allow them to string together anything more than five or six phases at a time.
“They were a dangerous team and we had to be on our mettle, which thankfully we were.
“We knew we had the wind behind us in the first half and that we had a chance of being in front at half-time, and from there you’ve always got an opportunity to stay ahead.
“Toulon were always going to try and chase it, and we’d said before the game that Toulon struggle to play without continuity.
“We looked at what the crowd was going to offer on the day, we prepared for that side of it with videos and audio, and the boys were prepared for it. None of the boys froze, they were all magnificent and the thing now is to make sure it isn’t a one-off.”
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