Only a late Tom Catterick penalty saved them from being the Romanian outfit's first English victims as Lyn Howells' side showed their own European worth.
But while the scoreline was far closer than Richards would have liked as Newcastle left a number of chances out on the Arcul de Triumf turf, the man who coached Leicester Tigers to back-to-back Heineken Cup crowns in 2001 and 2002 had few other complaints with what he witnessed in Round One.
"I was pleased with a number of the younger guys such as Sean Brown, Harison Collins and George McGuigan and I thought they played exceptionally well considering this was their first senior start," said Richards.
"The one thing you know when you come over to Romania is that they will be totally committed and bring that typically Latin approach. Bucharest's physicality was good, as you would expect, but had we taken our scoring opportunities we would be talking about a different game.
"I was disappointed we didn't control the game in the way we should have and we missed several opportunities to kill off the game in the second half. Other than the boat-load of opportunities we didn't take, I was pleased."
The win puts Newcastle at the top of Pool 3 ahead of a second successive away trip to Top 14 team Brive this Saturday.
Brive were European Champions back in 1997, with the French outfit beating a Leicester side that included No8 Richards in their ranks in a one-sided final in Cardiff.
The former England and Lions star has plenty of personal pedigree in continental competition thanks to his time with the Tigers and with Harlequins and he wants his current charges to experience similar success in the Amlin Challenge Cup this season.
"European rugby is important to us," Richards told The Journal.
"Playing in Europe is a different culture, a different playing style, and there are all sorts of experiences which are different to the Premiership. It broadens your horizons, and I love the fact we are playing sides from different countries.
"Ultimately, our bread and butter is going to be the Premiership, but that is not to say we don't want to win in Europe as well."