Graham plots promotion path

Thursday 06 February 2020 Written by: Adam

After being relegated from the top flight last season, Dean Richards’ men are storming their way towards a swift comeback – having won all 11 of their RFU Championship fixtures so far this campaign.

The Falcons sit top by 11 points and are buoyed by a brilliant atmosphere in camp with memories of their Premiership Rugby semi-final appearance in 2018 inspiring the side to success.

Graham – who last week signed a new two-year contract at Kingston Park – said: “We came down from Gallagher Premiership Rugby knowing that the only goal was to go up and anything less than that would be an underachievement.

“Going undefeated is something we are aiming to do and it’s definitely not out of our reach.

“The coaches talk about meeting the Prem standard and that’s what we aspire to do so that if and when we go back up it doesn’t come as a shock to us and we can right a few wrongs from when we went down.

“Only two years ago we were in the semi-finals of the Gallagher Premiership so it’s a big goal of ours to try and get back to where we were.

“I only came to Newcastle three years ago and I expected not to play much rugby when I arrived but I played in my first year. In my second I played most of the time and got to the semi-finals, something I never thought I’d do if I’m honest.

“Getting there gives you a taste of what’s attainable and it makes you want it more and train a little harder.

“I think we’ve got a good team together and hopefully next year, if we go up, we can show to everyone that we’re very capable of staying up and even competing for some silverware.”

Graham was speaking at Chopwell Primary School, where he and team-mate Sonatane Takulua appeared to promote Premiership Rugby Champions.

Premiership Rugby Champions is an interactive, cross curriculum-based app developed with expert learning technology company, Aspire 2Be. The content aims to inspire primary school children to get moving while developing important life skills.

Through themed resources, lesson materials and content provided by clubs like Newcastle Falcons, the app connects schoolchildren to their local rugby heroes and brings learning to life in the classroom.

Developed by teachers for teachers, Premiership Rugby Champions provides interactive and themed lesson plans to use in the classroom and outside, tackling health, numeracy and personal development.

And with the initiative being designed to use the power of rugby to inspire young people to be active, learn and achieve their true potential, Graham insists it is crucial for professional clubs to engage with their communities.

He said: “It’s really important that you give back to the local community as a professional sportsman.

“When I was a kid I didn’t get to play much rugby so it’s really good to come down, get some rugby into the children and see how much they enjoy it.

“There’s lots of boys and girls here jumping about, getting excited about the sport and one little girl actually said to me she now wants to play rugby so hopefully she’ll take that outside of school and it’ll become a hobby and then we’ll see where they go from there.

“Days like today can definitely inspire a lifetime of involvement with rugby.

“Premiership Rugby Champions is a great initiative to help young people across the country and I’m delighted to have been involved. Champions is great way to support teachers up and down the country.”