Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Blades' Boys Back in the Old Routine

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Blades' Boys Back in the Old Routine

Article excerpt

Byline: By Duncan Madsen

Newcastle are just 160 minutes from Twickenham after storming into the quarter-finals of the Powergen Cup at Rotherham's expense.

However, such is the shambolic nature of this year's Powergen Cup, the Falcons will have to wait two weeks before they know their quarter-final opponents and then another 14 weeks before they actually play the game on February 28!

In between they will be concerned only with Zurich Premiership and European Shield matches.

But they can look back at yesterday's cup tie as the turning point of their season.

For not only did the Falcons win on the road for the first time in this campaign, they did so in style with their rampant backs the key to their six-try success.

Newcastle coach Andrew Blades said: "We didn't put too much emphasis on our away form going into this match, just that we wanted to carry on where we left off the week before.

"There was always a danger after beating Rotherham 56-10 at our place, plus losing a few players, especially Warren Britz with flu, we could have turned up and not performed.

"But we didn't and I was particularly happy that we fronted up to them physically.

"Afterwards the guys were disappointed at the number of opportunities they missed rather than happy with the ones they scored!"

While the Newcastle pack got stuck in from the start and provided plenty of ammunition, it was the speed, pace and commitment of their backs which did the damage and had the large travelling Falcons support in raptures.

First Jonny Wilkinson beats the French almost single-handedly and then Michael Stephenson, Jamie Noon, Tom May and Ben Gollings rip Rotherham to shreds - not a bad day to be a Newcastle fan!

But if the Newcastle backs have suddenly started to fulfil the potential we all knew they had, the main catalyst has been Mark Mayerhofler at inside centre and as his influence has grown so has the confidence of players around him. …

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