Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Falcons Set for Wail of a Time; Close Allies Could Be Tough Tournament Opposition

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Falcons Set for Wail of a Time; Close Allies Could Be Tough Tournament Opposition

Article excerpt

Byline: Nick Purewal

FLEXING the big guns, Newcastle Falcons still worry their toughest Middlesex Sevens opponents will be their closest allies, the Wailers.

Westoe rugby director Andy Howells runs the invitational Sevens side HFW Wailers that Falcons Sevens boss Mark Laycock has coached numerous times over the years.

The Falcons used a number of the Wailers regulars in their abortive run to the JP Morgan Premiership Sevens final at Bath last weekend.

The two squads have even trained together this week in preparations for tomorrow's Middlesex event at Twickenham, which starts at 10.30am.

The teams could clash in the semifinals if results work out, and both bosses would relish that prospect.

Falcons coach Laycock has rolled out the Premiership stars as Newcastle bid to add to 2007's solitary Middlesex crown, with England Sevens men Rob Vickerman, Micky Young and Charlie Amesbury integral to their chances.

Ex-Munster fly-half Jeremy Manning and former Bristol pair Luke Eves and Redford Pennycook will make their Falcons debuts, while ex-Newcastle

Academy man Luke Fielden returns after being part of the 2007 trophy-winning squad.

Rapid young flanker Alex Gray and back-row counterpart Will Welch join scrum-half Chris Pilgrim and centre Michael Tait in completing the Falcons squad. Scotland Sevens star Scott Riddell captains the Wailers after his national team pulled out of the competition, the brave Blaydon flanker choosing to play on despite the sudden death of his brother. Westoe back-rower Aaron Myers - so influential for the Falcons in JP Morgan action with a string of fine turnovers - will add the bite, while Blackheath wing Tyson Lewis offers the sheer pace.

Lewis' JP Morgan showings elevated his name to a new level, and The Journal understands several Premiership clubs are eyeing the 24-year-old primary school teacher's progress with more than passing interest.

Canada caps Justin Mensah-Coker and Phil Mack bolster Howells' squad, with brothers Hamish and Jack Smales teaming up in a dangerous Wailers lineup. Expecting a tough day all-round, Laycock said knowledge might not prove powerful against a side of friends and colleagues. …

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