Falcons U18s set for Saturday’s kick-off

Tuesday 17 December 2019 Written by: Adam

The 2pm kick-off is free for all supporters to watch via the East Stand, head coach James Ponton explaining: “We’ve got six games, so we play every team once, home or away, and then that gets reversed the following season.”

Hoping to achieve the twin targets of winning matches and providing future players for the club’s senior sides, Ponton said: “It’s a bit of both, really.

“You don’t ever go into a game wanting to lose, but on the same token you also want to be judged partly by how many of your lads go on to feature for the first team in future seasons.

“I think this is the first season where we’ve really come out and put it out there that we want to go to the finals day, and placed a big emphasis on that.

“We’ve come in quite well prepared as a team, whereas before it has been more of an individual focus.

“We’ve been able to train against Northumbria University over the last couple of weeks, which has been really beneficial, and I think both teams have got a lot out of that.”

Elaborating on the make-up of the squad and the build-up they have had, Ponton said: “We hold 25 to 30 lads at under-17s and then the same number again at under-18s, which just means that every season we have that degree of continuity.

“This season’s under-17 group is one of our stronger ones, or at least they were last season at under-16s level, and they seem to be developing very quickly.

“We haven’t had a huge amount of time with the guys because we let them go off to their school programmes.

“A lot of the schools have very busy rugby schedules but we see the lads in July and August for a couple of days each week, we have a camp during October half-term and we meet up again in the beginning of December to get some more access leading into our games.”

Hopeful to see a mixture of tight and open play, the head coach added: “We would pride ourselves on our set-piece, I think our scrum and line-out should go well, and then aside from that it’s all around our ball movement, phase play and looking to keep the ball alive.

“There’s some good space in the Under-18s league – obviously the defences aren’t as well organised as you see in the Premiership but there are a lot of very talented lads and some great skills on show.”

**Newcastle Falcons’ Premiership Rugby Under-18s League fixtures**

Sat Dec 21 v Wasps (home, 2pm, Kingston Park).

Sat Dec 28 v Leicester (away, 2pm, Oval Park).

Sun Jan 12 v Sale Sharks (home, 2pm, Kingston Park).

Sun Jan 19 v Worcester Warriors (away, 2pm, Sixways).

Sat Jan 25 v Yorkshire Carnegie (away, time and venue TBC).

Sat Feb 8 v Northampton Saints (home, 2pm, Kingston Park).