Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Falcons' Euro Opponents Are Fired Up

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Falcons' Euro Opponents Are Fired Up

Article excerpt

Byline: By Duncan Madsen

Andy relishes a tough challenge

Connacht skipper Andrew Farley is relishing the challenge of facing Newcastle Falcons' star-studded side at Kingston Park in tomorrow's European Challenge Cup quarter final, lifted by their 11-9 away win at Border Reivers in the Celtic League last Friday.

"Newcastle have a side full of internationals from several countries and we are certainly looking forward to coming up against them," said Farley

"We will have to play our own game to the best of our ability because we know that if we make mistakes they will hurt us on the scoreboard. However, if we do the basics right then we could come away with a victory.

"We have been in the quarter-finals for the last four seasons and gained a lot of respect for our performances so we will not be over-awed against the Falcons.

"Getting a good result is hugely important, not only for us as a team but also for our fantastic supporters in the West of Ireland. The added bonus is that if we can win at Newcastle, then we are home in the semi-finals and that would be great for our fans.

"However, their strikeforce in the back line complements an excellent all-round team, so while we have improved a lot as a performance on the day."

Connacht have a good record in this competition, having reached the quarter- finals three times and going on to the semis on two occasions. The Falcons, meanwhile, have made the last eight of the competition four times, progressing twice to the semi finals in 1998 and 2001.

Founded in 1885, there have been strong links between Connacht and Newcastle dating back to the 1960s when legendary Connacht prop Ray McLoughlin played for and skippered Gosforth while doing a PhD at Newcastle University.

McLoughlin, who I was privileged to play alongside for Gosforth and against for Scotland when he was wearing the green of Ireland, skippered his country seven times while playing for Gosforth as well as going on two British Lions tours to New Zealand in 1966 and 1971. …

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