Welch highlights set-piece battle at Ealing
The unbeaten Falcons are currently six points clear at the top of the Greene King IPA Championship as they prepare to visit their nearest challengers, Welch and his men going for their 13th win in a row.
Highlighting the set-piece as a key battle ground for the televised 3pm kick-off, the flanker said: “A lot of the teams in this league base their game around the set-piece platform, but if you get parity or on top in those areas you’re in a great position to win the game.
“Ealing have a good pack, they like a drive and a scrum, and on the back of it they can play as well. If we take that platform away from them they’ll struggle to get into the game as much, although they’ll be saying exactly the same about us.
“It’ll definitely be a good battle, and as long as we come away with the win then we’ll be happy.”
Despite enjoying a six-point lead over Saturday’s opponents Welch admits his team will be in for a genuine test in west London, saying: “It will be a time for cool heads, and this will be as close to a Premiership game as you’re going to get in this league.
“Ealing are a good side who will test us in ways that we haven’t been tested this year, but for us it’s about concentrating on our own performance. If we do on the day what we have worked towards during the week, then I firmly believe the result will be in our favour.”
Playing a supporting leadership role rather than captaining the side this season, Welch explained: “I suppose it gives you a little bit of time just to focus on playing well, and that’s important because we’ve got a lot of really good back-rowers this season.
“It’s probably the area of the team where we’ve got the most strength in depth, and it’s a bit of a different role for me this season without having the captaincy. Having said that, I’m still chipping in and helping the guys on that side and I’m enjoying playing that supporting position for them.
“We’ve got new co-captains this season in Michael Young and George McGuigan, plus a few others including myself who have skippered the team when those guys have been away. In any team you will have a group of leaders rather than just the guy who has the formal duties on game day, and as long as those five or six voices are on the same page then I think that’s really healthy.”
Not shying away from the importance of Saturday’s game but also keeping an eye on what is to follow, the forward added: “I wouldn’t want to talk too early in saying that the result this weekend will affect what happens with promotion, because there’s a lot of rugby still to be played whatever the result at Ealing.
“You can’t take anything for granted in terms of winning the games that come after this weekend, but I suppose the one thing you could say is that a win for us keeps us firmly in the driving seat with more than half the season still left to play.
“It would be nice to go into Christmas time sitting a good few points clear at the top, and to then go and build on that in the new year.
“We weren’t very happy with our performances at the start of the season but we were still winning games, although we’ve managed to show a little bit more consistency in recent weeks.
“We’ll need to be on it this Saturday because Ealing play some good rugby, they’ve had some big results recently and we’ll need to perform down there.”