Michael Young talks about this afternoon's European Rugby Challenge Cup game against Brive.
As Newcastle Falcons prepare for their final pool one European Rugby Challenge Cup game against Brive, Scrum Half Michael Young says his team are simply focusing on this afternoon’s task in hand.
With a number of mathematical permutations governing whether the Falcons progress from pool one to the last eight, the number nine is insistent he and his team will simply try to control the controllable, as they look to end the pool stages with their 100% home record intact.
“All we can do is win and push for the bonus point which is the maximum we can get out of any game. We just have to make sure we get the win we’ve set out for then the rest will take care of itself.”
“We know there’s still a possibility of us going through to the next round of the competition but first and foremost we’ve just got to get the win and then build up going forward.”
Despite a disappointing trip to Russia last weekend, this season’s European Rugby Challenge Cup campaign has contained many positives for the Falcons. So which have been Young’s personal highlights?
“It was good to get the wins against Enisei and Connacht under our belt and good to just turn them over. Going out to Brive I thought we played really well too and were unfortunate not to get the win.”
The Falcons last played today’s opponents back in November, when a trip to Brive saw them fall 13-9 to the Top 14 side.
“In the first couple of minutes of that match they scored their try but from then on we were pretty much in the game until that last minute when the pass went to floor and we just didn’t finish the game off.
“It was disappointing in some regards but obviously getting those two bonus point wins against Enisei and Connacht at home give us confidence going into today’s game to get another win out of it.”
Having faced Russian, French and Irish opposition within their pool one campaign, this season’s cup campaign to date has allowed the Falcons to experience a variety of national rugby styles to date.
Young explains: “The different nationalities always have different brands of rugby. The French, for example, like to throw it around and express themselves in that department whereas you could argue that the English are a little bit more closed off in the way they play.
“We maybe haven’t found our stride yet this season in how we want to attack but we like to play an expansive game of rugby and want to get back to that. It’s one of our characteristics and what the fans want to see so we’re working on getting back to that.
“Obviously the Russians have a completely different style; they’re big physical guys who like to smash into people and they can bring it to whatever level they want because they set the tone and the physicality, we just have to make sure that when we’re out there we set that tone physically but also play the expansive rugby we like.”
That knowledge of the national styles of rugby will prove crucial heading into today’s game, the Falcons keen to capitalise on their knowledge of Brive’s game today.
“Last time we played them the big one was the way they scored their try; they use their 12 quite a lot so that’s something we need to be clued into, to concentrate on our defence and ensure our one on ones are clinical.
“The set piece is important for us too because the French like that. But we also know that their ball in play is a lot less than we’d like so we’ll be working on trying to get that out and hopefully tire them out that way.”
Details aside, however, the Falcons No. 9 maintains that his team’s overall plan is simple:
“It’s hugely important for us to right our wrongs from the last couple of weeks and get our wins, particularly heading back into the Premiership.
“At the end of the day that’s our bread and butter, but whatever happens with the European results today is still massively important for us to build that confidence and build what we need to ready for next weekend.”
Tickets for this afternoon's game (ko 3pm) are still available to buy online, in person from the Kingston Park Stadium Box Office or by calling the Falcons' 24 hour Ticket Hotline on 0871 226 6060, starting from just £15 for adults and £7.50 for juniors.