Director of rugby Dean Richards says Newcastle Falcons have star quality of their own as they prepare for Sunday’s visit of a Saracens side which could well see Billy Vunipola making his comeback from injury.
The England No 8 has been out with a knee injury but appears set to make a return to action at Kingston Park Stadium, when the Falcons host the Aviva Premiership and European champions in a 2pm kick-off.
With brother Mako also set to feature during a fallow Six Nations weekend, Richards said: “Saracens have big players and I know people will be looking forward to seeing the Vunipolas, but to my mind we have equally as many stars in our own team.
“It’s nice to have Nili Latu back from injury, Sinoti Sinoti back fit doing what he does, Niki Goneva scoring tries, and we’re on fire.
“We scored seven tries against Northampton in our last home game, which is not easy to do, and we know we can score. It’s shoring up our defence which is the next step at this moment in time.”
Well aware of Saracens’ quality but insisting his side will exhibit no fear following successive home wins in the competition, he added: “You don’t go into a game to lose, so in that respect I am confident we will win, but we have just got to make it happen.
“Can we take them? Yeah. Why not?”
Asked if he expected to see any Italian-style no-ruck tactics in Sunday’s Kingston Park clash, the former England and Lions No 8 said: “I hope not.
“Well, it won’t be from us – or it might not be, anyway. I certainly hope we don’t see it, although [Italy defence coach] Brendan Venter does have a history with Saracens so we will have to keep one eye open for it. We’ll see.”
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