Kingston Park has been a hive of media activity this week in the build-up to Newcastle Falcons’ final two matches of 2012.
On Wednesday Sky Sports interviewed Falcons director of rugby Dean Richards for their magazine show ‘Rugby Club’ ahead of the festive RFU Championship blockbuster with London Scottish on Sunday 23 December.
Presenter James Gemmell was the man posing the questions to the experienced boss, who has made a blistering start to his tenure on Tyneside.
Airing this coming Thursday at 8pm on Sky Sports 1, the interview touched on Richards’ unbeaten start to the season, life after Harlequins, and his ambitions for the Falcons.
But before the Falcons can think about adding yet another league victory to their name against Scottish, the northeasterners have a return date with Newport in the British and Irish Cup this Sunday (kick-off 3pm).
Head coach Peter Russell undertook this week’s routine press conference, and admits he is expecting another tough battle against the Welsh outfit.
He said: “I think it will be a real battle upfront, and the weather forecast is for wet and windy conditions, so it’s going to be interesting.
“Newport put up a dogged fight against us in the second-half last week, and it was one of those games of two halves.
“We went into the changing room at half-time buoyant at our performance, but we just couldn’t kick-on which was disappointing.
“We didn’t manage to fire on all cylinders in the second-half, and a few decisions didn’t quite go our way. They got back-to-back penalties early on in the second period and the next minute they scored in the corner.”
A series of fringe players got their chance to impress in South Wales last weekend and were in fine fettle according to the Kiwi coach.
“The young guys showed a lot of enthusiasm and they were very upbeat about getting out there for their first start,” said Russell.
“It was good for them to play with the senior players, and at the end of the day some of those young guys stepped up to the plate,” he added.
Despite youth getting a chance in the British and Irish Cup this campaign, Russell admits it has been important to keep the nucleus of the side together to build momentum going into the Championship matches.
Russell said: “We’ve got to look a little bit more ahead of ourselves in terms of the London Scottish game, and this week we will probably introduce some more players leading into that game.
“It’s all about the play-offs come the end of the season, but we can’t look too far ahead and we must take each game by merit.”
Insisting there is no room for complacency at the club, Russell said: “It’s crucial that we keep challenging ourselves game to game rather than worrying about the threat of complacency setting in.
“We have some tough games away from home after Christmas and we must take our home ground mentality away with us – I think we are doing pretty well away from home at the moment.
“It’s about weathering the storm when we go away from home and just stamping our authority on the game.”