Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

We Can't Let the Occasion Overshadow This Game

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

We Can't Let the Occasion Overshadow This Game

Article excerpt

Byline: MARK SMITH

CAPTAIN James Hudson has urged his Newcastle Falcons team-mates to play the game and not the occasion in Saturday's relegation decider, writes MARK SMITH.

The lock-forward and his side travel to London Wasps in their one last bid to salvage a 16th successive season of Aviva Premiership rugby.

Hudson said: "This 80 minutes now defines our season and we know what we need to do, but hyping the occasion up is totally counter-productive.

I don't want our players to get too waylaid in terms of heaping the pressure on themselves by banging on about the stakes. Everybody knows what is riding on it, but the most important thing is that we maintain the focus on executing our game-plan in a rugby match.

"You can't do that if you get too caught up in the pressure of the day, or fretting about what happens if you lose. On the flip-side you can't entertain thoughts of how good it would be to win, and you need to put that stuff to one side.

"The way in which we will give ourselves the best opportunity to pull this thing off is if we focus purely on what we need to do on the field, and the real specifics of our game."

Unlike last season where Newcastle were reliant on Leeds losing at Northampton to retain their top-flight status, Hudson (pictured right) said: "The nice thing about Saturday is that it is completely in our control, and we cannot be distracted by results elsewhere.

"Last season down at Bath was pretty horrific, waiting out on the field to hear a score from 200 miles away which would decide whether or not we were relegated. The result went our way, but nobody took any joy from the experience.

"This time it is a bit of a different dynamic with us being the chasing team, and I suppose we are in a similar situation to what Leeds were when they went to Northampton. …

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