Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Strong Falcons Side to Face Montpellier

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Strong Falcons Side to Face Montpellier

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Smith

NEWCASTLE Falcons boss Alan Tait is set to retain a handful of his big guns in the line-up for tomorrow night's European visit of Montpellier to Kingston Park.

The French high-flyers make the Amlin Challenge Cup trip to the North East after a sensational start to their season, as they sit third in the Top 14 domestic table behind Racing Metro and Toulouse. In Europe, too, they have excelled, occupying the Pool C top spot after just one defeat from their four group outings.

Despite the Falcons lying in third place going into the penultimate round of pool action, the head coach is still expected to fielS d a handful of his star men when he names his side later today, saying: "I want to put a strong side out, although there's obviously guys that we've targeted to have a couple of week's rest during this period of games.

"I was pleased with the finish to the match last Friday in drawing with Sale Sharks, and the boys have been upbeat all week about this game. The European competition throws up new challenges, and we're at home again which is another bonus.

"We lost to Montpellier over in France back in October, but it was close for a lot of that game and we feel we could have got a result out there, even with the young side we fielded. I'm very much wanting to turn that over on its head by getting a good win at Kingston Park, and also it's a chance to have a look at a few of the other lads in the squad to see what they can do on the senior stage."

Prop-forward Jon Golding looks set for a first start for three months after a successful comeback from the bench last Friday, with skipper James Hudson and fly-half Jimmy Gopperth also in contention to start as Tait resists the temptation for wholesale change.

The head coach will still freshen up his side over the next four weeks of Cup action, however, with the Scot saying: "It's a month that we can definitely use, and I'm excited about getting some of these players out there. …

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