McGuigan delight at England call-up
The 29-year-old has crossed for 17 tries in his 25 games this season, with his consistently impressive performances earning the uncapped front-rower a place in the 36-man England training squad which will convene in London on Sunday.
“It’s a great honour to be involved in such a talented group,” said the Falcons academy graduate.
“I’m looking forward to going down there and hopefully putting my hand up to go on the tour to Australia, and showing them what I can offer.
“I played for England against the Barbarians back in 2018, and it was a great honour to pull on the shirt. Playing at Twickenham was awesome, and hopefully I can get that opportunity again.”
Before his international training camp McGuigan and his Newcastle team-mates have a home date with Gallagher Premiership leaders Leicester Tigers, with a 3pm kick-off at Kingston Park Stadium on Saturday.
“Leicester are a very good side, as everyone knows,” said McGuigan, who spent two seasons with the Tigers before re-joining the Falcons in the summer of 2018.
“It’s no great secret what they do, but they’re very good at it, and we’ve been preparing all week for what they’re going to throw at us.
“They’ll play their territorial game and throw everything at us in the forwards, and we’re looking forward to that. It’s a great test for us, and the boys are absolutely buzzing for it.
“At this stage of the season you can’t change your own game plan too much, so it’s a case of being more precise in the things that we do, and bringing that intensity. Leicester test you in the maul, the scrum and they try to pin you in your own half, and we’re ready for what they’ll throw at us.”
Determined to reward the Falcons’ fans for their loyalty, the hooker added: “It’s our last home game of the season, and we owe it to our supporters.
“They’ve backed us throughout their entire season when we haven’t always repaid them through our performances, so there’s a massive incentive from our side to really deliver a big one for them.
“The lack of relegation this season doesn’t make any difference whatsoever to us. All the players are very competitive people, and you don’t become a professional sportsman without having that drive in you. It’s an absolute given that you’re going to put everything in and try your hardest to win every game, and the fact there’s no relegation doesn’t change our mind-set one single bit.
“Beating the league leaders at home would be a great way for us to end our campaign at home, and we owe our fans a big performance for the way in which they’ve supported us over the whole season. That’s our motivation.”
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