Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Falcons' Squad Depth Key, Says Centre Pedro

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Falcons' Squad Depth Key, Says Centre Pedro

Article excerpt

PORTUGESE centre Pedro Bettencourt is backing Newcastle Falcons' squad depth to rise to the challenge when they host Exeter Chiefs in Sunday's Premiership Rugby Cup opener at Kingston Park Stadium (kick-off 3.00).

The 23-year-old made his competitive debut for the Falcons a fortnight ago when he came on from the bench during his side's heroic Heineken Champions Cup victory in Toulon and is ready to seize his chance if called upon this weekend.

"It has been quite a journey," said the dual-format international who has been capped by Portugal at both 7s and 15s, joining the Falcons from Carcassonne this summer after spending two seasons in the Clermont academy.

"My dream was always to be a professional sportsman.

"My dad played rugby in the 1970s, my uncles and my cousins played and it started to be on the TV more often with Portugal qualifying for the 2007 Rugby World Cup in France. I, like many other Portugese kids, was inspired by that and you want to be like your heroes."

Settling into life on Tyneside, the fluent English speaker added: "It felt out of this world when the move to Newcastle came about, given how well they'd gone last season.

"I'd been playing in the French Second Division so it was a big jump up in standard but it has been great to be involved with the Falcons and to be having this experience.

"Pre-season was hard for a couple of reasons.

"Firstly the fact I joined the club pretty late and then secondly because I picked up an injury near the end of pre-season.

"That's not ideal and I've been trying to catch up a little - but I'm loving the experience of being here and getting used to English rugby, which is faster than the French game.

"In France I think a lot of the guys are bigger and the rugby can be more physical but it's a slower pace there. The guys here are fitter and the rugby they try to play is pretty smart. …

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