DEAN RICHARDS has thoroughly enjoyed his week in Philadelphia – now the Newcastle Falcons director of rugby wants his players to round off their Stateside trip with a win over Saracens.

Having won their opening two Aviva Premiership matches, Falcons will attempt to complete a hat-trick when they take on Sarries in Philadelphia’s Talen Energy Stadium tomorrow evening (10.10pm UK time).

This is the second time a Premiership game will have been staged in the United States, and having spent the last five days on America’s sun-drenched East coast, Richards is a big fan of attempts to spread rugby’s development beyond its traditional heartlands.

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“Rugby is growing well over here, and for us as Newcastle Falcons to be in that market is a great opportunity,” said the Falcons boss. “If you couple that with the business perspective then it’s the right thing to do, and there’s a lot of excitement among the squad about coming over here.

“The trip has been fantastic, the facilities have been outstanding at University of Pennsylvania and we’ve just got to deliver the goods on the field now – that’s the main thing.

“It’s not like a normal game, this. We’ve been together for a week, living in each other’s pockets and really learning about each other. From that side of things it has been great, and we’ve been here all week so the jet lag and what have you has not been a factor.

“Philadelphia is a sports-mad city and we have been loving that side of it. We went to the baseball on Wednesday night, the non-playing members of the group are going to the college American football on Friday night and it’s great to experience it all.”

It will feel even better if Falcons can see off Saracens tomorrow night, and while their opponents might be the reigning European champions, Richards’ side will not be overawed.

“You look at Sarries’ line-up and there’s no denying they’re a really good team,” he said. “But we wouldn’t be coming here unless we thought we stood a strong chance of winning. I think we’ve got a far stronger squad this year than we did last year and I genuinely believe we can turn them over.

“Facing Saracens is a great challenge, and if you’re going to come somewhere like this you want to be against the best. Double European champions says it all really and the boys are excited by that challenge.”

Newcastle Falcons: Hammersley, Tait, Harris, Matavesi, Goneva, Hodgson, Takulua; Vickers, Lawson, Welsh, Green, Robinson, M Wilson, Welch, Latu.

Replacements: S Socino, Mavinga, Davison, Witty, Hogg, Stuart, JP Socino, Sinoti.