Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Magnificent Sevens Stars Press Case for Promotion

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Magnificent Sevens Stars Press Case for Promotion

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Smith Sports writer @markismith50

NEWCASTLE Falcons could be the victims of their own success when it comes to Friday's Premiership Rugby 7s finals at the Twickenham Stoop.

So strong was their performance in winning Saturday's qualifying competition in Darlington, a number of coach Mark Laycock's squad are now on the verge of being called up by the Falcons' senior side for Thursday's pre-season opener in Bayonne. With that match being an evening kick-off in south-west France and the squad flying back to Tyneside late that night, the logistical and physical demands make it impossible for players to double up and do both.

Laycock will sit down with Newcastle's director of rugby Dean Richards to see which of his squad will be pulled from the sevens finals to run out for the 15-a-side team, and already has plans in place to draft in replacements from the local club scene.

Those players trained as a virtual shadow squad last week alongside the group which won all three of its games in Darlington on Saturday, defeating Leicester Tigers, London Welsh and Sale Sharks in front of more than 7,000 supporters at the town's arena.

Laycock said: "Quite a few of the boys who played in Darlington have put their hands up for first-team selection, and could be over in Bayonne.

"That is great and we are absolutely behind them, because what this is about is helping players progress with their rugby.

"It might mean we have to bring a few guys in for the 7s, but we have been working with a number of them already with this possibility in mind, so hopefully it should not disrupt things too much."

Despite Tom Catterick having captained the squad, been their top tryscorer and been voted player of the tournament, Laycock was quick to highlight the collective ethic of a squad which relied largely on workrate and physicality to make attacking in-roads. …

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