What to expect from Newcastle Falcons
It’s been a decade since their last visit to Glasgow, but the challenge posed by Newcastle Falcons is one at the front and centre of the collective mind of the current crop of Warriors.
Whilst the 2020/21 campaign might have been their first season back in the top-flight of English rugby following a year in the Championship, the Kingston Park outfit are capable of turning any side over on their day with their mix of physicality and X-factor.
Two men with first-hand experience of Premiership rugby, second-rower Lewis Bean and Scrum Coach Al Dickinson, sat down to look ahead to the visit of the Falcons to Scotstoun…
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What kind of match are you expecting from Newcastle Falcons?
AD: Newcastle were always renowned for being physically tough to beat when I was in the Premiership. They bring a real edge, they’re very well drilled at the set-piece and they compete hard at the breakdown. It’s always a real scrap when you play a Falcons side.
LB: The set-piece is going to be a big area for us. I’d definitely say that teams in the URC, or PRO14 as it was, tend to play a bit quicker than those down south, too. Premiership teams tend to favour a more physical game, where they send a few of their bigger boys crashing down your channel. You’ve got to be on top of your game defensively when playing against a Premiership side.
You both mention the set-piece – just how important will that area of the game be?
LB: There’ll be a big emphasis on the scrum, so that’s going to be a good test for our pack ahead of the new season. At the lineout, too, our maul is going to be hugely important in both attack and defence. They’re going to come after that area of the game and we’ll have to be ready for that.
Being a second-row, the set-piece is a huge part of my game. It’s something I take a lot of pride in, so I can’t wait to get involved if I’m selected.
AD: There’s never enough time to do as much preparation as you want to do on the set-piece [laughs]! Obviously I’m biased as the Scrum Coach, but the set-piece – both scrum and lineout – give you such a good platform when they’re drilled well. The importance of getting your set-piece right is key, especially when other teams are technically so good. The Premiership is renowned for being full-on week-in, week-out, so you know Newcastle will bring that intensity to Scotstoun.
Newcastle get a lot of headway in matches from disrupting opposition set-pieces, so they’re going to target that area in our game. That’s what we want though – we want that sort of challenge to see where we are and where we need to improve ahead of the new URC season.
How have you both found pre-season so far?
LB: It’s been really good to get back to Scotstoun. The boys have been really good in welcoming me in, and it’s been good to meet all the new lads too. It’s like I haven’t been away really. Everyone’s driving their standards higher and it’s shaping up to be a good year.
AD: I think we’re in pretty good shape. A few of our players are obviously still away, but they’ll get back into the swing of it pretty quickly. The boys that are here are really putting the work in and showing up well, and I’m really enjoying being here and being a part of Danny [Wilson]’s team. It’s good to immerse yourself in the club and enjoy what you do.
The match will be the first played in front of fans at Scotstoun since February 2020 – how much are you looking forward to that opportunity?
AD: It’ll be my first time at Scotstoun as part of the club and not part of the opposition! It’s a great stadium – I never enjoyed coming here as a player because I knew the crowd would make it a really tough afternoon. I’m looking forward to having the Warrior Nation onside this time!
LB: I’m really looking forward to playing in front of the fans here. It’s something that I obviously didn’t get to do when I was up on loan, and all the boys have been telling me how great the noise is here when the stands are full. I genuinely can’t wait to run out in front of them.