Chick looks to settle the score against Gloucester
The 3pm Gallagher Premiership kick-off sees the Falcons up against a Cherry and Whites side who prevailed 29-20 at Kingsholm in October, despite the teams scoring two tries apiece.
Five penalties from fly-half Lloyd Evans ended up proving to be the difference, with Chick saying ahead of the re-match: “As a squad we have a point to prove, because we feel like we let ourselves down in the away game at Gloucester back in the early autumn.
“We didn’t feel as if we were outplayed, it was just our discipline that let us down, and we feel that this is a game we’re more than capable of winning.”
Gloucester sit at fourth in the league and won away at Saracens in their last Premiership outing, scoring more driving maul tries than any side in the division.
“We’ve had a discussion about their maul, which has obviously been a proven weapon for them consistently over the season,” said Chick, the 25-year-old Ponteland native who came through the Falcons academy to make his full England debut last summer.
“We’ll pay it the respect it deserves, but at the same time when we do our own stuff right we stop them from getting into a position whereby they can use it. So there’s very much an inward focus on ourselves, and we’re confident bearing all of that in mind that we’ll be able to manage what they throw at us.”
Asked how they can stop the Gloucester maul, Chick stated: “Hit them harder than what they hit us!
“No, I mean there are obviously a lot of things go into it other than that, in terms of what positions you get into at what times and stuff like that. There are roles and tricks of the trade once you’re in there to try and disrupt their maul and make a mess of it, but sometimes you’ve just got to throw your head into the spokes!”
Having had multiple games cancelled due to Covid within the past month, including last weekend’s trip to Toulon, the back-row forward admitted it had been a disrupted build-up for the Falcons, who have still had some players and coaches isolating this week.
“It’s been a frustrating month with games getting cancelled, and even with the games which have gone ahead we’ve had players and coaches ducking out at various times due to positive tests or having to isolate as close contacts,” said the man who has scored 16 tries in his 96 appearances for the Falcons.
“That’s just the reality of the times we’re living in at the minute, and I’m some other clubs will probably be in the same boat. Yeah, it’s difficult, but all you can do is make the most of the training time that you do have, even if it’s less than normal.
“We’re looking forward to Saturday’s game against Gloucester, though – we’ve trained as well as we can do under the circumstances, and we’re fresh going into it.
“We’ve got a fantastic squad, so when guys do dip in and out of being available we’re able to cope with it as well as possible. When someone goes down we have boys who are willing and able to step in, and they’re more than capable of doing the job.
“Our home crowd are always fantastic, too, and I’m sure that will be another factor. Hopefully it will be a decent crowd, because that’s really important for us.”
Having made his England debut in the summer, Chick’s was not one of the names called upon for this week’s Six Nations camp in Brighton – something the player himself took in typically philosophical fashion.
“Yeah, I’m obviously disappointed about not being included, but I’ve spoken to Eddie Jones and I know what I have to work on,” he said.
“Now for me it’s just about focusing on what I’m doing at club level, and making sure I play well for Newcastle. Hopefully at some point I’ll be doing my job well enough to get picked again for England, but my thoughts are all on the Falcons.”
One man with club and international experience aplenty is fellow back-row man Mark Wilson, who could be set for a first outing of the season after more than six months out with a knee injury.
“It’s really nice to have Wils back,” said Chick.
“He’s a big character within our squad – not only as our captain, but just with the way he is as a bloke. He’s had his issues over the past year or so with injuries, and the fact that he’s been given a clean bill of health is great news for the club.”
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