Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Micky Is out to Ward off Rivals; Cup Clash Gives Falcons Ace Chance to Shine

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Micky Is out to Ward off Rivals; Cup Clash Gives Falcons Ace Chance to Shine

Article excerpt

Byline: NICK PUREWAL

EVERGREEN Micky Ward reckons the strong Anglo-Welsh Cup line-ups give every Newcastle Falcon a chance of winning a regular first-team spot.

Hailing the competition's credibility in the eyes of the coaches, fans' favourite Ward hopes a strong showing at tighthead prop against Harlequins tomorrow can keep him squarely in their Premiership thoughts.

The Falcons entertain Quins at Kingston Park (kick-off 3pm) looking to bounce back from a four-try defeat at Worcester last weekend.

A win would throw them right into the mix for a semi-final spot, and Ward knows there are bigger prizes at stake than just the simple victory.

Impressed with the standard of the competition, Ward said: "A lot of teams are giving the odd youngster a shot, and also guys who are not starting as much or who are coming off the bench.

"It is a chance to give some people a run and I think that is what you need to do.

"Last week we had Grant Shiells and Kieran Brookes on, and young Mark Wilson too, and if you do not have games in competitions like this guys like that will never have a chance to play. "People are taking it pretty seriously, so it is a great competition to give those lads a chance.

"It just shows how strong the squads are, maybe some of the frontline players are not playing but look at Worcester - their backline was a bit handy. "You want to start every game, but the good thing about teams taking it seriously is if you go out there and do well, you can go and knock on the door to the coaches and say 'why am I not being picked?' "Whereas, no disrespect to some of the sides we might play in other competitions who might not be as strong, if I go out there, scrummage well and fly around, me knocking on the door and asking why I am not playing because I played well in that game does not carry as much clout.

"So we want to be playing against good opposition, and I think teams are getting the balance right in this competition. …

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