Elliott Obatoyinbo relishing northern exposure

Monday 19 December 2022 Written by: Adam

The meeting of the Gallagher Premiership’s two most northerly clubs is a 7.45pm kick-off at Kingston Park Stadium, with Obatoyinbo making eight appearances for the Falcons following his early-season arrival.

“The most important thing for me was game time in terms of me taking the next step in my development, and so I made the difficult decision to leave Saracens,” said the 24-year-old, who turned down a two-year deal with the London club in the search for more match minutes.

“I kept myself in shape during the summer, waiting for the right opportunity, and I was grateful when Newcastle came into the picture. It was initially on a short-term contract, but from there we’ve been able to extend for a couple of years, which is great.”

Scoring two tries for the Falcons and starting their last four Premiership games, the former Stonyhurst and Harrow schoolboy said: “Newcastle and Saracens are quite different environments but I enjoy it here, and I’ve been made to feel really welcome.

“It’s a tight group, the boys are happy and we work incredibly hard for each other. I like coming into training every day, and I’m enjoying my rugby here with the Falcons.”

Obatoyinbo expects a bruising encounter on Friday when Sale pitch up at Kingston Park, with the Falcons having won their last four home games against the Sharks.

“It will be a really physical game against Sale, as it always is,” he said.

“They’ve got a strong, aggressive pack and they like to be in your face, so we can definitely expect a bit of that from them.

“For us, it’s just about playing smart.

“We need to play our rugby in the right positions on the field and match Sale’s physicality.”

Billed as a ‘derby’ in some quarters despite the two clubs being 150 miles apart, the full-back said: “The squad haven’t really spoken about it being a derby or anything like that, although I guess in comparison to how far away most of our opponents are, there’s a bit more of a local angle to it.

“The boys are definitely looking forward to it, and hopefully there’ll be a good crowd in.”

[**Click here**][1] to buy tickets for Friday’s 7.45pm kick-off.

[1]: https://www.eticketing.co.uk/newcastle-falcons/EDP/Event/Index/1751?position=4