Burrows braced for Murrayfield mission

Tuesday 4 December 2018

Ryan Burrows says Newcastle Falcons are gradually playing their way back into form ahead of Friday’s Heineken Champions Cup trip to Edinburgh.

The Falcons head to BT Murrayfield on the back of scrappy Premiership victories over Bath and Northampton, the back-row forward saying: “We just need to look after our own end of things, and we’ll creep up the league from there.

“We played poorly last weekend at Northampton if we’re brutally honest about it, but we got the right result. The belief is starting to come back, we nicked it in the 86th minute and to win a game after playing so poorly in the first hour I think in a way is testament to the spirit among the group. You’d take a dirty win over a positive loss any day of the week, and we’ll take them however they come.

“We’re confident that come the end of the season we’ll be in the right place, and it’s just doing what we need to do. Let’s not get carried away by what other teams are doing around us as long as we keep winning, because at some point they’ll slip up.”

Moving into Europe in a run which has seen just one loss in their last eight games in all competitions, Burrows said: “We’re looking forward to it. The Heineken Champions Cup is a competition which has seen us going well so far this season, we’re unbeaten at the top of our group and we want to just keep the momentum up.

“It’s into the unknown a little bit when you play in Europe because you’re generally up against teams you don’t meet very often, although in fairness we did play Edinburgh at home in pre-season this year. There’s probably more of a focus on what we’re doing rather than on the opposition, and the pressure’s off in a way. You feel like you can just go out, enjoy yourself and see what comes from it.”

Winning away at Toulon in round one and following that up with an 87th minute winner at home to Montpellier, Burrows insists he and his squad are just enjoying the journey in their first Champions Cup campaign for 14 seasons.

“When the group and the fixtures were drawn over the summer there probably wouldn’t have been too many pundits who’d have us at the top of the group with two wins from two, and we’d definitely have taken that if you offered it,” he said.

“Winning over in Toulon was a great experience, then to back that up in the manner we did at home to Montpellier the following week, it just means we have positive memories of the competition for when we go back into it on Friday.

“We’re not fearing anything up there, the pressure is off and with it being Edinburgh’s home game it’s just another case of us going and causing a bit of an upset.

“It will be a big physical contest, and in these European games you probably tend to find there’s a bit more of an emphasis on the forward packs. We’ll be looking to lead by example in that area and trying to get ourselves on the front foot via our carrying game, but they’re a good side and we’ll have to defend well against a team which has the likes of Bill Mata in it.

“It’ll need to be a full 80-minute performance because this is the elite level, and if we can limit Mata’s go-forward with the 20-odd carries he has per game we’ll make their task much more difficult. There are ways we can do that from a system point of view in defence, but they have other threats and we’re obviously mindful of that.”

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