Healey missed England's Grand Slam-winning Six Nations campaign after four months on the sidelines with Achilles and groin problems.
But, restored to the outside-half position, Healey looked sharp in scoring the champions' first try and creating another.
The win left Leicester fourth in the English table. Healey's performance in particular was a tonic ahead of the holders' European Cup quarter-final at home to Munster on Sunday.
Former England No 8 Richards said: "Austin played reasonably well. He ran a great support line on the first try he took it very well. It's vitally important to have him back at this stage of the season."
He added: "Sam Vesty has being playing really well at fly-half but what Austin brings is experience and that is something Sam hasn't got, although he's gaining it."
But it was wing Geordan Murphy who really caught Richards' eye after being involved in all Leicester's four tries and scoring one himself.
"Geordan played very well," said Richards, who once likened the Ireland international to Northern Ireland soccer great George Best.
"He's had a few indifferent performances for Leicester over the last few months.
"But he turned the corner going into the Six Nations and now he's come out of it playing some of the best rugby we've seen him play for a while," Richards added.
Meanwhile, IRFU committee member John Hussey has been appointed chairman of the Celtic League Association.
The Dublin-based businessman succeeds SRU chief executive Bill Watson in the position.
"This competition has been very successful in its first two years of existence," Mr Hussey said.
"With TV audiences of around two million for the two finals to date and healthy increases in match attendances across all three countries last season, we look to the future with confidence."