Walder: Gary Armstrong’s words helped fuel our fire
The Scotland and Newcastle great was invited into the Kingston Park changing rom just over an hour ahead of kick-off, with Walder explaining: “I spoke to Gary during the week, and I was keen to get a legend of the club to come in and give the boys a real emotional lift on game day.
“It’s a bit of perspective on what’s gone before them, and he spoke incredibly well about how privileged he felt to play for Newcastle Falcons, how proud he was to wear the jersey and how ultimately you’re playing for your mates.
“He went on to say ‘don’t play how I used to play or else you’ll get sent off’, but all joking aside he gave a very passionate talk about what it is to be a Newcastle Falcon, and how you have to give 100% every time you run out there with the shirt on.
“I think he would have enjoyed playing in that game tonight, to be fair, because it was a physical old battle. I was just talking to him afterwards and he said as much as the laws have changed, rugby is essentially still the same game.
“The fundamentals never change – run forwards, pass backwards – and with a bit of dog and niggle it’s about battling for your mates. I think we gave a performance he would have been proud of, and I personally loved having him here to speak to the lads.”
Delighted with the result after tries from George McGuigan, Mateo Carreras and Guy Pepper, Walder said: “It was a great game plan put together by Mark Laycock, Micky Ward, Scott MacLeod and Mark Wilson, we showed brilliant attitude to hang in there and the urgency and desperation to win from the boys was outstanding.
“Defensively we felt pretty comfortable, and for the most part the only way they were moving up the pitch was through our own lack of self-discipline.
“We contested well at the breakdown, I thought Guy Pepper was outstanding as was Carl Fearns in his first game back from injury. On one or two occasions we made poor decisions which gave Exeter a sniff, but the way the boys came out and got the result was really pleasing.”
The head coach added: “You know what Exeter are going to do and we knew they were going to come on strong, with the likes of Dave Ewers and Scott Sio coming on from the bench.
“We’d highlighted what we needed to do during the week, it’s a bit like casualty in the changing room with a lot of battered bodies but the lads really dug in for each other.
“We’d had a lot of guys coming back from internationals and they knitted in well, and the boys delivered on the game plan which the coaching team had put in place.
“We’re really excited about going down to London Irish now next weekend, and recording three Premiership wins in a row.
“That’s not an easy thing to do in a league like this and Irish are a talented side, but we’ll go down there with confidence looking to earn another positive result.”
Newcastle Falcons’ next home game is on Saturday December 17 when they host Cardiff in the EPCR Challenge Cup.
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