Falcons in perfect form ahead of Premiership season

Thu, 01 Sep 2016 10:31
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NEWS: Scotland international Jon Welsh says Newcastle Falcons' unbeaten pre-season run has left the side in a perfect position for Friday’s Premiership kick-off match against Sale Sharks.

The clash will see Welsh make his first competitive outing since the January victory over Bath when a toe injury sidelined the front rower.

The 29-year-old prop capped 11 times by his country, including at last year’s Rugby World Cup.

"I think results in pre-season do matter, whatever some people might say," said Welsh.
 
"A run of victories builds momentum going into your first league game, we have won all of our games against some good teams and as a result, the confidence here is very high. I think we are in a completely different place to where we were last season.

"That is just through getting the foundations right in pre-season, by which I mean shape on the pitch, game plan and things like that, but also off the field. Everyone knows each other that bit better, the new signings have bedded in well and we are definitely in a much stronger position.

"A lot of players came late into the group because of the World Cup and there were a lot of new signings, so we didn’t have that luxury of building a team and gelling in the way that most teams would have in pre-season. It felt around that Christmas time like we starting to build something good when my injury came. I wasn’t able to be out there for the rest of the season and it is great now to be back and looking forward to games,"

However, Welsh was forced to watch from the stands due to injury.

"Injury is the bane of any player’s career, and to get it so early into the club season was really heartbreaking," he said.

"If you’re a front row forward I don’t think you can really take a break at any point at all. The staff were brilliant here on the medical and the strength and conditioning side, they put me through my paces and looked after me at the same time.

"My outlook now is that last season is completely gone, we have put it behind us and everyone is focused purely on Sharks.

"You do as much analysis as you can, but the general consensus among the squad and the staff here is that everyone is just really excited. I have obviously been out for a lot longer so I really can’t wait to get into it. We have had a good look at Sale, we are in a good place and we feel like we’re ready,"

 

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Fri, 30 September 2016
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Dragons v Glasgow Warriors 18h35 Rodney Parade
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Bristol v Saracens 18h45 Ashton Gate
Northampton Saints v Exeter Chiefs 18h45 Franklin's Gardens
Sat, 01 October 2016
Free State Cheetahs v Griquas 12h00 Bloemfontein
Sale Sharks v Leicester Tigers 13h30 AJ Bell Stadium
Gloucester v Bath 14h00 Kingsholm
South Africa v Australia 15h05 Loftus Versfeld
Munster v Zebre 16h00 Thomond Park
Ulster v Ospreys 17h30 Kingspan Stadium
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Cardiff Blues v Cardiff Blues 19h05 Stadio Monigo
Sun, 02 October 2016
Argentina v New Zealand 22h10 Ascoli Piceno
Wasps v Harlequins 13h30 Ricoh Arena
Worcester Warriors v Newcastle Falcons 14h00 Sixways
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Team P W D L Pts
Wasps 4 4 0 0 18
Saracens 4 3 0 1 15
Bath 4 3 0 1 14
Leicester Tigers 4 3 0 1 13
Exeter Chiefs 4 2 0 2 10
Newcastle Falcons 4 2 0 2 9
Gloucester 4 1 1 2 9
Harlequins 4 2 0 2 8
Sale Sharks 4 1 1 2 8
Northampton Saints 4 1 0 3 7
Worcester Warriors 4 0 2 2 5
Bristol 4 0 0 4 1