Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Danger Lurking in France, Says Bates; Falcons Coach Is Wary of Hurt Opponents

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Danger Lurking in France, Says Bates; Falcons Coach Is Wary of Hurt Opponents

Article excerpt

Byline: Nick Purewal

O VERHAULING Newcastle Falcons in Europe might not remain Montauban's primary focus, but Steve Bates does not expect the Frenchmen to ease off at Stade Sapiac on Friday night.

Summer rejigging means only five of the European Challenge Cup quarterfinal qualifiers now come from the group stages of the same competition.

Three teams will drop down from the Heineken Cup after failing to progress in the top-tier European contest, leaving the ECC a more robust and hopefully more exciting product.

Bates for one is in favour of the potential for a home draw against one of Europe's big guns, but he is also mindful of the pitfalls of the new format.

After beating Montauban 17-6 at Kingston Park last Thursday night, the Falcons might just be forgiven for thinking their Gallic hosts will now adopt a largely laissez-faire attitude to the remainder of this competition. But Bates is not among those ready to forgive, and he has warned his men they face just as tough - if not more difficult - an encounter in the town where the Tarn and Tescou rivers meet.

The Falcons now hold a six-point advantage over Montauban in Pool Five, and a fourth straight win in the competition on Friday would almost certainly secure a last-eight spot.

Montauban might be tempted to give up the ghost, but a bonus-point win denying Newcastle any points at all would leave them trailing by just one solitary point.

As ever the permutations throw up a multitude of scenarios, and for Bates the obvious way to proceed is to forget them all, and travel to France for the win and nothing else.

"We can't make any assumptions about what they will or will not do in light of the state of the pool," said Bates, preparing his men for another bruising contest. "We have to expect that they will really take the game to us whatever they now feel their motivation in this competition remains. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.