Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Falcons Are out to Salvage Pride

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Falcons Are out to Salvage Pride

Article excerpt

Byline: By Luke Edwards

Rob Andrew is confident a bruised and battered Newcastle Falcons will flourish against Connacht this evening as they try to salvage pride and rebuild their reputations following the meek surrender to Northampton last weekend.

The 32-13 defeat to the Saints was Newcastle's fifth home defeat of the season and Andrew has admitted it was a result which has unexpectedly dragged them back into relegation trouble in the Guinness Premiership.

The Falcons coach made no attempt to hide his anger at his side's recent dip in form, accusing his players of lacking both fight and quality.

But while Andrew may have spent much of the week banging heads together in training, he is adamant his players will respond by booking a place in the semi-finals of the European Challenge Cup by beating Irish province Connacht tonight.

"There was a mixture of anger and surprise from me at the performance," said Andrew, who has made nine changes to the side which lost to the Saints, dropping seven of the pack which started last Sunday.

"There were perhaps mitigating circumstances, because we were missing a lot of experienced players last weekend and the young players have been carrying a big burden outstandingly all season. But I was disappointed with the application of what we had done in training and talked about before the game. Once we got in to a bit of bother we didn't seem to show any fight whatsoever to get out of it, and that is obviously unacceptable.

"The law has been laid down and the players know they have to do a lot better in what is a huge game for us against Connacht. The players have responded well in training and they will use last Sunday as their motivation."

Welsh international Colin Charvis returns to captain the side at No.8. In the front row Micky Ward switches to tight head prop as Robbie Morris drops out, while Matt Thompson replaces Andy Long at hooker and Jonny Williams starts at loose head prop.

Luke Gross takes over from Andy Perry at lock, and in the back row the returning Charvis is joined by Mike McCarthy at blindside flanker for Owen Finegan, while Cory Harris takes the place of Ben Woods at openside. …

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