Easter relishing Sunday’s trip into Tigers’ lair

Wednesday 29 December 2021 Written by: Adam

The East Midlands outfit are ten from ten in the league and unbeaten in Europe after a flying start to the campaign – the Falcons looking forward to their first game in three weeks following a bye week in Europe and the cancellation of their Boxing Day game against Sale Sharks.

Easter said: “We were really disappointed not to have been able to play in front of our home fans on Boxing Day – partly to give some festive cheer to our supporters, and then partly just to get the boys back playing after a free weekend in Europe.

“You prepare a team to play but sadly it was called off, and it’s just one of those things. It’s obviously a blow to the club because we would have expected a decent crowd on the day, but you just hope everyone at Sale Sharks is OK and that they’re over the worst of it.

“Whatever commercial shortfall we have from missing the Boxing Day game, hopefully we can make up for it by getting some more bums on seats for the other matches we have remaining. The way we do that is by playing winning and entertaining rugby, obviously combined with all the work that goes into marketing and delivering the games.”

The Falcons’ next home game comes against Northampton Saints on Saturday January 8, but before that is the more immediate matter of Sunday’s trip to a Leicester Tigers side who have not tasted defeat all season.

“A number of things have changed at Leicester,” said Easter, the former England No.8 who is a Premiership title winner from his time at Harlequins.

“They’ve got clear direction from Steve Borthwick at the top from a rugby point of view, and on the recruitment side of things they’ve returned the focus to their traditional strength in the forward pack.

“There was a period whereby Welford Road wasn’t a place to be feared, but they’ve made it a fortress again by some shrewd signings, good coaching and basically just reverting to type.

“They don’t mess around, they play a very simple game plan which is well orchestrated by their experienced nines and tens, and they’ve rotated to the extent whereby you’d struggle to know what their strongest team is.”

Travelling with excitement rather than fear as the overriding emotion, Easter added: “It’s about what we do with and without the ball, and probably having to simplify it a little given that we’ll be a bit rusty with having not played for three weeks.

“For me this is lick-your-lips time, and we can’t go there with any trepidation.

“We’ve got to look forward to it, and to have our first game of 2022 away to a side who’ve won every game all season – I just think it’s a great challenge for the boys.”

Newcastle will announce their side for Sunday’s game at 12 noon on New Year’s Eve.