Ward lays down the challenge for Sunday

Thursday 06 October 2022 Written by: Adam

The unbeaten Londoners are the talk of the league after racking up a half-century of points in last weekend’s demolition of champions Leicester Tigers, just a day after the Falcons chalked up a bonus-point victory against then-table-topping Bristol Bears.

“I thought our forwards did well last week, as they have done for much of the season, to be fair,” said Ward, the Falcons’ all-time record appearance holder.

“We did what we spoke about, and when you hear all the deserved praise that the backs are getting it’s a nice feeling for the pack to know that they’ve delivered the ball for those guys.

“It’s great when you give front-foot possession to your backs from a scrum or maul, meaning they can cause the havoc that they do, and I was pleased with how the forwards went.

“We’ve just got to keep on going through our processes and reinforce to the players that when we get it right the results will follow, like they did on Friday.

“Like Dave Walder said after the game, it’s only one win, and it’s just a case now of putting it all together as a team on a much more regular basis. We had really high standards last Friday, everyone’s attitude and detail was spot-on and we as coaches have just got to keep hammering that during the week.”

Knowing his side faces a tough assignment on Sunday as they strive to address a 20-game losing streak against Saracens, Ward said: “You look at the scores they’ve put on teams and how they play at times – they’re definitely running the ball a bit more this season.

“In years gone by they’ve been predominantly a kick-chase team, which has worked really well for them, but they look to be more rounded this season and will test you in different ways.

“You’ve just got to expect the unexpected in this league, like the other week at Leicester when we thought they would kick everything but they ran from deep early on in the game and caught us a bit unaware.

“We obviously do our analysis on the opposition and prepare properly as you’d expect, but it’s also a case of making sure you’ve got systems in place which can cover everything, and then the players will be able to make good decisions from there.”

Samoan international Theo McFarland has been one Saracens player particularly catching the eye this season, with Ward full of respect not only for the back-row star, but all of his team-mates.

“Everyone’s going on about McFarland, and rightly so because he’s been immense for them, but if you focus on one player that’s when you fall down in other areas,” he said.

“They’ve got quality right across the board to be honest with you, and as good as McFarland has been, if you focus all your attention on him then you’re giving time and space to a Ben Earl, a Billy Vunipola and all the rest of their lads.

“They blew Leicester away towards the end of that game, but this week is another test for them.

“Hopefully it will be cold and windy up here, they’ll have had a long trip and be miles away from home. Teams don’t like that, and if you combine that with the attitude and intensity we showed last week against Bristol then we’ve shown we’re a match for anyone.

“We’ve just got to get stuck in. We can’t stand back and go ‘look at them, they’re a great team’. We’ve got to get into them, rattle them and make life difficult.

“This is what you want – the big team coming into your back yard.

“We want to be the guys who turn them over, and as much as we respect them and know it will be tough against a side as good as them, I believe we can do it.”

[**Click here to buy tickets for Sunday’s 3pm kick-off at Kingston Park Stadium**][1].

[1]: https://www.eticketing.co.uk/newcastle-falcons/EDP/Event/Index/1752