Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Falcons Looking to Add Muscle; Big Guns Return as Bates Eyes Northampton

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Falcons Looking to Add Muscle; Big Guns Return as Bates Eyes Northampton

Article excerpt


STUART GRIMES expects Newcastle Falcons to flex some Premiership muscle against Wasps at Kingston Park on Sunday. The Falcons host Wasps in the final Anglo-Welsh Cup run (kick-off 3pm), ahead of next week's league return at Northampton Saints.

While cup action has allowed Steve Bates and his coaching team to experiment and blood youngsters, forwards coach Grimes believes the Falcons will field a more powerful line-up this weekend.

Stopping short of letting all their front-line stars loose against the Londoners, ex-Scotland lock Grimes said the Falcons will bring back a number of more established names to continue preparation for that Franklin's Gardens trip.

It would be easy to write Sunday off as a meaningless contest - but then there was little riding on the Cardiff clash and the two teams produced some of the most enjoyable rugby of the campaign.

Newcastle powered in four driven-lineout tries as the pack gelled pleasingly, but behind the scrum they always looked to mix things up too.

While the return of several big guns against Wasps will help rugby director Bates prep his men for the gruelling league onslaught ahead, Grimes said there will still be an element of trying something different.

There is also the added motivation of the club donating funds to needy North East soldiers and their families.

Falcons chairman Dave Thompson has pledged a percentage of gate receipts - plus a potential win bonus - to the local Second Battalion Royal Regiment of Fusiliers Northern Region.

Their regimental charity The Fusiliers Aid Society raises funds for troops injured in battle and the families of soldiers who have laid down their lives in the line of duty.

Tickets for the match have been cut to pounds 10 for adults and pounds 5 for concessions in a bid to boost numbers and, in turn, the coffers of a worthy cause.

Anticipating a highlycharged match atmosphere as the Falcons go in search of that victory windfall, Grimes tipped Newcastle to field a more experienced team than last weekend. …

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