Kerr eyes progress in Europe

Tuesday 17 January 2023 Written by: Adam

The 5.30pm kick-off is the last of Newcastle’s four group games in the competition, with six of the ten teams in their pool set to progress to the round of 16.

Five of those spots have already been taken, leaving the Falcons in a five-way fight with Bath, French sides Brive and Perpignan and Italian outfit Zebre for the last remaining qualifying berth.

“It’s unbelievably odd going into the last round knowing that every single team, right down to the bottom of the pool, can still qualify for the knockout stage,” said Kerr, the 23-year-old who can play wing or centre.

“Regardless of what people might think about the format there’s plenty riding on the last weekend of group games, and every team is in with a shout of taking that final spot.

“It’s European competition and everyone wants to play, so the games are taken very seriously.

“That will definitely be our outlook towards it, and anyone coming down on Saturday will be seeing a good contest between two teams who really want to win.”

Newcastle were beaten 22-8 when they met Connacht in Galway before Christmas, with Kerr expecting a robust test in Saturday’s Kingston Park re-match.

“They’re a good side – as all the Irish provinces are at the moment,” said the Ulsterman, who is in the final year of a law degree at Newcastle University.

“They’ve got a big set of forwards and some electric backs, so they’re a multi-threat team who can hit you in a number of ways.

“When we went over there we had opportunities to score tries and win the game, so a bit more accuracy will be the key this time round.”

Following Saturday’s European assignment the Falcons face a free weekend before home-and-away matches against Scottish Super 6 side Southern Knights, firstly in Melrose on Saturday February 4 and then in Newcastle on Saturday February 11.

“After this weekend we go into a block with no Premiership game for a month, and it’s an important period leading into that season climax,” said Kerr.

“The boys will get a week off after the Connacht game, and then we have back-to-back games against Southern Knights. Both of those will be valuable opportunities for some guys to get game time, and on the same token to raise money for a fantastic cause in My Name’5 Doddie.

“We played up at Southern Knights last season and didn’t really give a proper account of ourselves, so from a pride point of view I think the lads feel like they want to put that right over the course of the two games.”

[**Click here**][1] to buy tickets for Saturday’s game against Connacht.

[**Click here**][2] for details on the two matches against Southern Knights.