Post by Jamie Crawford on Sept 24, 2019 15:09:41 GMT
Newcastle Falcons in Championship Cup preview
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Sun 29th Sep, 2019 - 03:00pm (Added)
After six successive seasons in the top flight of English rugby, Newcastle Falcons are back in the Greene King IPA Championship this season.
The Knights’ second Championship Cup game is their first this season against the newly-relegated Newcastle Falcons. Undoubtedly the Falcons’ attention will be winning the Championship and a return to the Premiership but they may also want to win some silverware to demonstrate their complete dominance of the Championship.
Fortunately some or all of their International players will be in Japan for the World Cup.
Falcon International players:
1. Winger Vereniki Goneva for Fiji
2. Lock Tevita Cavubati both for Fiji
3. Scrum Half Sonatane Takulua Fly Half and goalkicker
4. No 8 Mark Wilson for England
5. Prop Logovi'i Mulipola for Samoa
“Newcastle Falcons skipper Will Welch has committed his immediate future to the club after signing a new four-year contract.
Welsh has only played as a professional for the Falcons and has accumulated 226 games for them. He became their youngest ever Captain aged 22 and helped the Falcons to an RFU Championship title in his first season as captain.
“…The 6ft 4' back-row said gaining the promotion back to the Premiership is his immediate goal in the upcoming season after the Falcons had a tough 2018/19 season where they faced relegation to the second tier after finishing bottom.
“We’re using this season as a chance to re-set ourselves as a team, but the great thing is we’ve managed to keep the majority of our squad together," he said in a statement released by the club.
“It’s the nature of professional sport that a few players are going to move on, and that’s just the way it is, but I feel we’ve got a good enough squad to go straight back up...””
Welsh is obviously confident of this after committing the next four seasons to the Falcons instead of moving to a Premiership club or signing for the Falcons for one year to see if they went up or not. Similarly hooker George McGuigan has penned a new three-year contract after starting his career with the Falcons, moving to Leicester Tigers for a couple of seasons before returning to Newcastle. McGuigan said “,,,"Despite the blow of being relegated this season we've still got an incredibly talented group of players driving hard to come straight back into the Premiership, and I see huge growth ahead for the club."
Another sign that the Falcons are the most likely Championship team to be promoted is the signing of Ealing Trailfinders prop Mark Tampin. Obviously Tampin backs the Falcons over the Trailfinders.
“Josh Hodge is ready to kick on from his exploits at the World Rugby Under-20 Championship, with the tournament’s top scorer eyeing further progress at Newcastle Falcons.
The 20-year-old kicked a perfect 24 from 24 during the competition in Argentina last month including a match-winning penalty against Italy, and managed to find his way over the try-line at regular intervals despite occupying the unfamiliar position of winger due to injuries elsewhere in the England squad.” (www.newcastlefalcons.co.uk) The Knights need to control their discipline and not give away penalties because these are likely to lead to points being kicked.
“This year is all about promotion and I think everyone will make us favourites which will then make it far more difficult for us,”
“We’ll be the team that everyone wants to beat and it’ll be their cup final. It’s not ideal but it’s a pressure we have to deal with and it’s a pressure the boys won’t have had for some time.
“I think this is a far more competitive Championship than ever before with probably about six or seven teams who I think have recruited exceptionally well.
“It will be incredibly competitive, but I’m really looking forward to the season and whoever gets promoted, and I’m hopeful it will be us, will be far better prepared for the Premiership than ever before.”” (https://www.englandrugby.com/news/article/championship-rugby-season-launched-at-twickenham)
Hopefully Richards included us in his mention of six or seven teams that have recruited well.
Although Knights scored six tries and picked up a bonus point it has been acknowledged that there is still room for improvement in attack and the Knights will aim to rectify this against the Falcons. The Falcons also won their Championship Cup tie away against Jersey Reds, winning 8-21. Fijian winger George Wacokecoke scored both of the Falcon’s tries. This leaves the Knights top of the table courtesy of their bonus point win against the Falcon’s four-point win.
After the one Championship Cup game, Wacokecoke is the equal second top try-scorer.
DONNY, DONNY, DONNY...