Team news: Two changes for Hartpury trip

Friday 07 February 2020 Written by: Adam

The unbeaten league leaders are going for their 18th victory in succession, having already beaten Hartpury three times this season in league and cup action.

Forwards coach Micky Ward said: “We know each other pretty well because we’ve played three times this season, and if there was an award for the most improved side in the league I’d give it to Hartpury.

“They’re a very changed outfit from what they were at the start of the season, and they’re not going to be like what they were during those early weeks.

“It looks like the weather might not be great on the weekend so the forwards have really got to take control and set the tone. I’m not saying that means we’ve got to have a boring and tight style of play, but if we’re dominating that set-piece and getting yards through the pack then that’s the platform you need.”

Well aware that with each passing week a bigger bounty keeps being put on their head, Ward said: “Everyone wants to beat us, and we know ours is the scalp they all want.

“Week on week it gets that little bit harder the longer we go unbeaten, because that desire from the opposition just grows and grows to become the first team to topple us. We’ve just got to have that mind-set where we’re able to keep dealing with it, and hopefully we’re still having this same conversation at the back end of May.”

Having sped into a 40-7 lead at home to Ampthill last weekend Ward is adamant there will be no repeat of the second-half slowdown which allowed their opponents to rein the winning margin in to 45-29.

He said: “We’re happy with the fact we’ve not been beaten all season but we have high standards as a group, and we’re always looking to improve.

“Last weekend’s home game against Ampthill showed how good we can be when we get hold of the ball, carry hard and do all the right things, and equally showed how much it hurts us when we drop off in a couple of areas.

“Overall we’re satisfied with our league position and the number of wins we’ve had, but there’s always work to do.

“As a coaching group we can’t be constantly hammering the players when we’ve got another five points and we’re unbeaten in 17 games, and as much as we’re obviously looking for improvements we can’t lose sight of the things which have gone well.

“It’s a balance, and it’s not always easy to find it, but they’re a great bunch of lads to work with and they’ll know as well as anyone where they need to tighten things up.”

**Newcastle Falcons team to face Hartpury (Saturday, 2.30pm, ALPAS Arena)**

15 Tom Arscott

14 Alex Tait

13 George Wacokecoke

12 Johnny Williams

11 Sinoti Sinoti

10 Brett Connon

9 Michael Young (co-captain)

1 Logovi’i Mulipola

2 George McGuigan (co-captain)

3 Mike Daniels

4 Greg Peterson

5 Sean Robinson

6 Callum Chick

7 Will Welch

8 Nemani Nagusa


16 Jamie Blamire

17 Rodney Ah You

18 Mark Tampin

19 Sebastian de Chaves

20 Simon Uzokwe

21 Sonatane Takulua

22 Toby Flood

23 Gareth Owen

**Referee:** Fergus Kirby