Laycock hails his battling Falcons

Friday 24 March 2023 Written by: Adam

Friday night’s Gallagher Premiership clash at Kingston Park had the house rocking with tries from Adam Radwan and man of the match Elliott Obatoyinbo, with Laycock cherishing the moment.

“Fair play to our boys for putting in such a huge shift, and it was all down to their effort that we achieved that result,” said the Hartlepool native.

“The entire squad, including all those who didn’t get on and all the staff, it was just a massive collective effort in prepping the boys and supporting them in whatever way they could, so this result is for them really.

“It’s a VERY happy changing room, trust me, and the character we’ve shown there tonight was incredible.

“Whether it was the scramble we showed when Gloucester made their line-breaks or our composure to just keep pushing – I couldn’t be prouder of the boys.

“We changed our kick strategy in the second half to take account of the wind, trying to find grass in their back-field, and the boys stuck to the plan really well. They’ve reaped the rewards because of it, and I thought the support of our fans there was just incredible.”

Making no excuses for the 17th-minute incident which saw Richard Palframan red-carded for a high tackle, Laycock said: “He hits the guy in the head, and once you’re in that area there’s nothing you can do about it.

“It’s probably the right decision from where I saw it, without having seen all the replays etc, and it’s up to us as coaches to work with the guys and ensure it’s less of an issue. If you tackle lower then the referee doesn’t have the decision to make, and Palf is gutted in the changing room about what’s happened.

“It was early in the game but we dealt with a similar one at Saracens a few weeks ago when Greg Peterson got sent off, and we battled incredibly well that day as well in winning the second half. The desperation was there in spades, and nobody can question our character.

“It’s adversity, sure, but we’re used to dealing with that. It seems to bring the best out of us for some reason, and tonight was one of those nights.”

Aware they would need to find an extra gear against a Gloucester side laden with international quality, he added: “We knew they would threaten out the back cos they’ve got some really good ball players, and they play well at the line.

“They’re electric out wide, and the challenge for us was to stay as connected as we could in defence. Even when they broke that line it’s that desire from within that the boys were able to tap into, and some of our scramble was just unbelievable.”

Now with two free weekends, the interim head coach explained: “We’ve got three weeks until our next game so we want to rest and recuperate, but also to remember that feeling on the final whistle.

“That’s what we need to have in our minds when we go down to Harlequins, and if we combine that spirit with the preparation and game plan then we’re in pretty good shape going forward.”

Newcastle Falcons’ final home game of the season is on Friday April 21 when Northampton Saints visit Kingston Park.

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