Powell positive ahead of Premiership return
Having captained the Falcons during both legs of their recent European fixture against Stade Francais, Powell left Paris disappointed in the final result but proud of his team’s showing across both games.
“The effort from the boys has been great, especially in attack, and we produced a lot. During last week’s game we were in the game but gifted them two tries in the first half. If we could have held onto the ball a bit more we could have put more points on the board but unfortunately we weren’t able to.”
Despite finding themselves on the wrong end of a 31-24 scoreline in Paris, the Falcons’ effort gained many plaudits, Powell included. “Our attacking game was good and the boys worked their socks off, and I think there are a lot of positives going into a big week.”
Heading straight back into Premiership Rugby action away to Harlequins this Saturday, Powell believes the Falcons’ European performance puts them in a good position for the return of domestic rugby.
“We’re actually quite lucky that the last two games we’ve played in Europe have been against a good team so we’re not going in rusty. It’s not as though we’ve played two easy games that we’ve won by sixty points, they’ve been good competitive games and that definitely puts us in a positive place going back into the Premiership.
“Some of the mistakes that we made against Stade are things that Quins will expose if we don’t put them right so it’s a good lesson for us and I think it is a bit easier when you come in and you play against Premiership teams in terms of you know them, you know their players and how they play far better than you do European teams. The boys are looking forward to getting back to the Premiership and against a good team too, there’s not a let up in the quality of opposition.”
“I think playing like we have been we’ve got a chance against anyone, it’s now just about cutting out those soft tries we’re conceding and giving away easy opportunities to the opposition. If we can cut down on them we can advance.”
With three fixtures against Harlequins, Saracens and Saints in as many weeks, there is festive break for the Falcons, but it’s a time 27 year old Powell is looking forward to.
“Christmas is always an interesting time to play and we have three very hard fixtures, but if we do what we’ve been doing recently we’ll be very competitive and if we make the improvements that we’ve been talking about it could be an exciting time for us.”
The festive fixture at home to Powell’s old club Saracens on 27th December in particular is a game that is creating a huge buzz around Kingston Park and throughout the team.
“Last year it was a big deal to play against Saracens and I’m assuming it will be again. You want bragging rights against your mates and for me, Saully and Noah we still have a lot of mates down there! But more importantly Saracens are a big team and if you can get a big victory for them then it’s an amazing thing for the club, especially if we have a big crowd you want to entertain them.”
Ticket sales for the game against Saracens are already at twice the rate of last year’s festive fixture, with the Falcons expecting their biggest crowd since their return to the Aviva Premiership, something Powell believes will be a great help to the home side.
“A big crowd makes a massive difference. When we played against Exeter the way the crowd got behind us was amazing and it really did help, especially in a tight game. Against a good team against Saracens having that partisan atmosphere is going to help us massively.”
Saturday’s game against Harlequins kicks off at 3pm at Twickenham Stoop, with live commentary available via the @FalconsRugby twitter account and on BBC Radio Newcastle.
The game against Saracens kicks off at 3pm on Saturday 27th December. Tickets are selling fast for the game but are still available [online], in person from the Kingston Park Ticket Office or by calling the Falcons’ 24 hour Ticket Hotline on 0871 226 6060.