Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Plastic Pitch Won't Make a Difference for Visitors; Falcons Flanker Says Team Still Has Advantage

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Plastic Pitch Won't Make a Difference for Visitors; Falcons Flanker Says Team Still Has Advantage

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Smith mark.smith@ncjmedia.co.uk

MARK Wilson is adamant Newcastle Falcons' plastic pitch will not make Kingston Park too much of an attractive proposition to visiting teams this season.

The Falcons have long traded on the fact opposition sides do not relish the distance and discomfort of a trip to the league's most northerly outpost, which now boasts a lush green carpet capable of standing up to anything the Tyneside weather can throw at it.

But their Cumbrian flanker, last season's player of the year, is having none of the notion that Newcastle have ceded home advantage by putting an end to years of boggy pitches.

"No teams want to come up here and play on a waterlogged ground, but even with a plastic surface, Kingston Park in the winter is still a very difficult place to come," said Wilson.

"A synthetic field is not going to stop the wind blowing and the rain coming down, and any team coming up here still knows they are going to be in for a big battle."

Having this week trained on their new pitch for the first time, the 24-year-old said: "The boys are really excited about it.

"Last year, it was a quagmire at times up here, so it is a massive bonus to be able to have a quality surface for the duration of the whole season. The lads are well up for getting some games on it, and it promotes the way we are trying to play this season."

>The intracacies of the Falcons' newlyexpanded game go well beyond simply giving the ball to the backs Wilson explained: "Everyone falls into the shape and the way we are trying to play. It is having the ambition to play when teams maybe think it isn't on, and we have been working a lot in training on numbers one to 15 being able to handle and pass like a scrum-half.

"We are being developed so that we can play this new game, so that we can move the ball quickly, and hit teams with a high tempo. …

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