Codling reflects on Bedford triumph

Friday 15 September 2023 Written by: Mark Smith

Newcastle Falcons head coach Alex Codling admitted there was still work to do after Friday’s 26-16 home win over Bedford Blues, but was satisfied to have taken another five-point haul in the Premiership Rugby Cup.

The hosts waited until five minutes from time to ground the bonus-point try, with Codling saying after a weather-affected game: “In the space of six days we’ve gone from 33 degrees at Ampthill to pouring down with rain at a windy Kingston Park, so we’ve seen the full four seasons!

“The positives from the night were another five points in the competition, a first home win of the season and lots of young players getting their first experience in a Falcons jersey.

“Did we play how we wanted to for large parts of the game?

“No, in a word, but credit to Bedford for taking the game to us.

“Ultimately we showed a lot of heart and courage to secure the result, and we know we’ve got to take another step forward next Friday against a quality team in Sale Sharks.”

Using the tournament to give game time to his squad, Codling explained: “The Premiership Rugby Cup allows us to put those building blocks in place and we had a lot of debutants tonight, with some stepping up from the Championship or age-group rugby.

“That is the key focus for us because this tournament is a chance to give guys some game time. Obviously we want to win, but the only way these boys get experience is by playing.

“I thought some of the younger guys who came on from the bench did well, they made a real impact and we’ve got faith in them as coaches. They have to have that same faith in themselves, and we’ll work together to get better.

“We’ve planned out these five games in terms of how we want to use them, and as I explained to the players tonight wasn’t a selection game.

“We wanted to give people opportunities, but as we move towards the back end of the competition it’s important that combinations spend some time together as we gear up towards the start of the Gallagher Premiership.”

Praising the Falcons faithful for getting behind their side, the Londoner added: “More than 3,000 people came out in the rain to support us when they could have stayed at home and been warm and dry – and I think that’s brilliant.

“This club has been through some tough times and I can’t change that, but what I always want is for the boys to work hard and reward the supporters who pay their money to come and watch them.

“Our crowd got behind us this evening, and in my first home game I just want to say a personal thank you to everyone who came along tonight and got behind the team.

“We understand the community we represent. They’re hard-working people, and I just think the passion for sport and for rugby in this region is absolutely fantastic.

“We want to show them more, and that’s the part that disappoints us slightly, but we’re all working hard towards taking that next step.”

Tickets are available for Friday’s visit of Sale Sharks for just £15 adults and £7 under-18s by clicking here.

Season ticket holders who bought before July 18 are advised this game IS included in your package for 2023-24.