Brookes Uses England Insight in Build Up to Bath Game

Friday 10 April 2015 Written by: Adam

Having played alongside the likes of George Ford and Jonathan Joseph during the recent RBS Six Nations tournament Brookes, 24, knows only too well what challenging opponents Bath can be.

“Everyone knows what Bath are about; they’ve got a big strong pack with a good set piece and their backs are very exciting with the likes of George Ford, Jonathan Joseph and Anthony Watson so you just have to try and take away their strengths and focus on us by playing as well as we can.

“Having played with some of these guys for England I know what they can do and I’ve told the rest of the lads here what to expect from them so we just have to try and stop them at source and not give the likes of Jonathan Joseph and Anthony Watson space to counterattack and try and get up in their faces.”

One name that has garnered a great deal of attention and column inches in the run up to tonight’s game is Sam Burgess, starting on the flank for Bath this evening for the first time after a number of appearances at centre throughout the season.

Speaking of the rugby league convert, Brookes said: “I know Burgess has played a few A games there so it won’t be his first run out in the back row. As a player and as a person I have massive respect for him and everything he’s done in rugby league. There’s a lot of pressure on him to perform in rugby union and I think he’s going to show everyone how good he is when he gets things right.

“This weekend we have to treat him like any other player really, just try and stay in control as well as we can and counteract with him.”

This evening’s game against Bath will be the Falcons’ Friday evening fixture at Kingston Park before the end of the season. And although Brookes admits that a long wait for the late night kick off does nothing to soothe his nerves on a match day, he agrees there are benefits to Kingston Park’s famour Friday night atmosphere.

“The best thing is that you tend to get a big crowd who are quite loud. A lot of the Friday night fans will have had a few drinks by kick off and hopefully the brand of rugby we’ll be playing will give them plenty to get excited about!”

The Falcons head into this evening’s game after a frustrating European quarter final which Brookes admits disappointed all of the team.

“We went into the game giving it out all and were all gutted with the result. It gave us a lot of things to work on in terms of our attacking shape and defensive errors but we worked really hard on those at the start of the week and are determined to put them right this weekend.”

Despite Brookes already being confirmed as leaving the North East at the end of the current term, his ambitions for the rest of the season remain high.

“Personally I want to continue playing as well as I can for the rest of the seasons and help to put the Falcons in the best possible position we can before I leave.

“As a team though I think we want to continue showing the form we’ve shown over the last few months and show everyone just how well we can play ready to push on into next season.”

Having enjoyed a regular place in the England set up during this season’s QBE Autumn internationals and RBS Six Nations, Brookes is hopeful that his own closed season break will be cut short by a call-up for World Cup training.

“The Six Nations was a great experience and it was nice to be involved. I injured my hip before the Ireland game so wasn’t involved in that one, which was a shame as it was a game I really wanted to play in because a lot of my family are Irish, but overall it was nice to end on a win against France.

“It was a weird feeling to win but then lose the Championship which I’ve never been in before but I think as a team here trying to take some of the performances that we’ve put in here away with me heading into pre-season and hopefully the World Cup.”

Tickets for this evening’s Aviva Premiership fixture against Bath are still available to buy [online][1], in person from the Kingston Park Box Office or by calling the Falcons’ 24 hour Ticket Hotline on 0871 226 6060.