Lawson eyes Cup challenge

Friday 10 November 2017 Written by: Adam

The hooker forms part of the Falcons’ starting XV as they look to build on last weekend’s 53-41 win at Wasps, Newcastle also top of their European Challenge Cup group and having shown an improvement in the Aviva Premiership.

“It’s brilliant. We got off to a flyer in the Aviva Premiership and we’ve carried that form into the cups, so we’re just looking to continue that against Cardiff Blues on Saturday,” said Lawson.

“It’s a chance for players to put their hands up for selection, and I think the rotation and competition for places has been one of the main reasons behind our improvement this season. Every time someone plays there’s great value in the jersey, no matter who it is.

“The cup competitions have been good at delivering game time for some of the guys who have had to be patient because the team has been going so well in the Premiership, and if you perform well you then get a crack at the league team. The standard of training has gone up because of the quality of players we have in every position, and that depth is so crucial in a season like ours.”

Keen to show a greater defensive resolve after conceding six tries in victory last weekend, the former Scotland international said: “The Wasps game showed a real ambition and free spirit from a lot of young guys, although we maybe forgot about our defensive duties at times.

“We’ll use Saturday as another chance to express ourselves in attack, but also being mindful of the need to tighten up on the other side of things going back into the Premiership the following week. We can’t defend at Wasps next weekend like we did on our previous visit, and that has to be a real focus of ours.

“Rugby doesn’t change at any level in the sense you’ve got to get momentum, get your go-forward first and play from there. From our pack’s point of view we have to work hard and provide a platform for what is a very exciting back line, and if we can release those backs with front-foot ball we stand a good chance of getting the job done.”

Lawson, who is also head coach at Tynedale RFC, is delighted by the number of homegrown players featuring in the senior ranks, and believes the Falcons’ future looks bright with so much talent coming through the academy.

“It’s great that we have so many players coming through the Falcons’ system and playing their way into the first team, in many cases local lads who have played for the junior clubs in our area,” he said.

“That side of it is really pleasing and I think our supporters can associate with that, like with Adam Radwan coming through at Billingham and Darlington Mowden Park. People know where he’s from, and in the space of a year he’s shown an incredible rise. It’s a good advert not only for what the Falcons are about, but also the whole North East club rugby scene.”

Determined for their positive start not to fizzle out, he added: “It was great to see a sell-out crowd for the Leicester game although we didn’t get the result we wanted, and there’s definitely a buzz around the Falcons and rugby in this region.

“We’re top of our group in both cups and improving in the league, and we’re now in a position to really challenge in the cups rather than just throwing a load of youngsters in to preserve our Premiership XV. Every game we play is meaningful, there’s a battle for every shirt and that has resulted in crowds going up. People want to see a winning team or at the very least a competitive team, and we’re approaching Cardiff Blues as a serious game that we’re determined to win.”

Tickets for Saturday’s 5pm kick-off are available by calling 0871 226 6060 or by [**clicking here**.][1]

A packed day at Kingston Park sees Infantry North playing against Artillery North at 1.30pm, while the England v Argentina game will be shown on the TVs in the Tap & Tackle bar at 3pm.