THE director of a top-flight Premiership rugby union team praised Kendal for its investment in young players on a visit to the town's facilities.

The Newcastle Falcons first team squad came to the South Lakes on a three-day trip following their match against Sale Sharks on Sunday to train at Mintbridge.

Director Dean Richards said coming to Kendal was a good change of scenery for the squad.

"It's good for our lads to come here as it's a bit of a break for them" he said. "The facilities here are absolutely great and you can see why other clubs would benefit from this."

The Falcons have two players from Kendal, Mark Wilson, who is away with the England team competing in the Six Nations, and new recruit Will Montgomery who played his debut match against Sale.

"We come to local clubs like Kendal because they see the potential in young players and help mould their characters," said Richards. "We simply add the finishing touches."

Montgomery, aged 19, is also a former Kirkbie Kendal pupil and was encouraged to play rugby by his father.

"I think my dad was trying to send me a message," he said "I kept getting rugby balls for presents.

"But I honestly never thought I could be a professional player. Since I was 14 I committed most of my time to the sport and it could have led to nothing in the end."

The former Black and Amber player added that coming back to Kendal as a Falcons player was 'surreal.'

"I used to be the kid going up to the players asking for their autographs," he said. "But now they're coming up to me and it just feels so surreal, it definitely hasn't sunk in."

Montgomery came off the bench during the closing quarter of the game against Sale to gain his first team stripes for the Falcons.

"I played for Kendal first team when I was just 16-years-old," he said. "I think this club has the real potential to push young players who want to get further in their rugby career."

Even the Kendal players got a taste from a typical Falcons training session on Tuesday evening. Head coach Dave Walder, defence coach John Wells, line-outs coach Scott Macleod and strength and conditioning coach Tim Payne gave some top tips during the session. Captain Dom Musetti said interacting with the Falcons was a real perk for the players.

"I think a trip from the Falcons was something we needed at this point," he said: "It’s perked players up and brought an eagerness to train.

"To hear professional coaches give praise to the team's skills and how we’re trying to play should be a real confidence boost for the lads.

"There was some great nuggets of information that individuals and the team took away that we can easily implement and should benefit from."