Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Andrew Puts His Faith in Front Row

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Andrew Puts His Faith in Front Row

Article excerpt

Newcastle Falcons are looking no further than Watford as they set out tomorrow to defend the Powergen Cup they won last April.

A return to Twickenham is the last thing on their minds as they prepare to face a Saracens side eager to prove themselves to new coach Steve Diamond.

Diamond took over as head coach at Vicarage Road after Saracens parted company with Aussie Rod Kafer last Tuesday and Newcastle boss Rob Andrew is expecting a real battle up front when the two teams front up tomorrow afternoon (3.0).

"I think this is a team that can take Saracens on," said Andrew after announcing a side which contains plenty of power up front.

"We've got a totally new front five and a whole front row on the bench, which is a deliberate ploy because Saracens will come into tomorrow with only one approach ( to try and beat us up.

"That's how Steve Diamond played the game and I'm sure it will be how he coaches the game.

"Saracens might fancy their chances in the front five, but I rate our guys in that area and so I think it has all the makings of a rousing cup tie.

"There's always a bit of an edge to things when a club changes its coaching set-up, as we found out against Northampton as recently as three weeks ago, and we have to make sure we don't take a backward step when it happens."

Having come on at half time against Edinburgh last week, Jonny Wilkinson again sits on the bench as he continues his comeback from a shoulder injury, with one of last year's Powergen Cup heroes, Dave Walder, continuing in the No.10 shirt.

"I'm sure all players hate being on the bench and I don't have a problem with that at all because it's only natural that they should want to play," explained Andrew.

"The bench isn't an easy place to be, but I've got to do what I think is best for all parties, which includes Newcastle Falcons, Dave Walder, Jonny Wilkinson and England. I have to address all of those factors in coming up with a decision."

"It worked well last week. Jonny is back and in good nick, trained well this week, but we have to manage the squad."

Tomorrow will also see the first outing of the Colin Charvis, Cory Harris and Phil Dowson combination in the back row, with Andrew stating: "I'm looking forward to seeing Cory work with Colin and Phil. …

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