The Stoop which has proven to be a fortress to us and other teams in recent years will be sold out for Saturday’s game, the Quins faithful packing in to see some quality opposition. The Falcons haven't tasted victory at the Stoop since 2011, when Alan Tait's men defied all odds to beat the Quins in the LV cup semi-final to book a place in the showdown with Gloucester. So if Newcastle were to win on Saturday, it would be their first in over 6 years.
Now guys... missed the rugby, it's been a long old slog of a three weeks for me, but now I can look forward to our final 5 games in the Premiership, and there is a hell of a lot to play for our team for the remainder of the season. With news coming out that the team who finishes 7th in the Premiership, who will have home advantage, will play 2 play off matches, one against 9th PRO 12 side, (which is likely to be, Connacht, Edinburgh, Cardiff or Newport) and then the victorious side form that match, will play a final game against either the 7th TOP 14 side or the 8th PRO 12 side in another separate play-off...the side that finishes 7th in the Premiership will also have home advantage for the final game, and whoever wins that, gets a place in the Champions cup, we could be in for a couple of extra games at Kingston Park come May folks... I can't wait to see how the next 2 months unfold. It would be great to break the 8+ year duck and get into the top flight of European rugby and compete on that world stage.
Anyway...A low down on Harlequins.
Harlequins, pictured above winning the Aviva Premiership in 2012 have failed to kick on and win any trophies, since lifting the trophy at Twickenham 5 years ago.
Why they need the win...
1.) I think that this is a massive game for them, they really do need to win this one, they had a good away win at Gloucester and need to show some consistency in a push towards the end of the season that could see them break back into the Champions cup after a 2 year absence. The club doesn't really have a good feel about it at the minute; just look at the fans forums and Facebook threads comments...that will tell you everything you need to know. Even more so, it is rumoured that Mike Brown and Danny Care are not happy in the direction that the club is going, Brown is rumoured to be off to Leicester Tigers at the end of the season, while Danny Care is supposedly in talks with Saracens about a move to Allianz Park.
A step closer
2. If Harlequins do get the win, they will be a match closer to a top 6 finish and will leap the Saints into 6th place and could even go to 5th ahead of Tigers should they get the Bonus point.
An unhappy atmosphere
Fair to say, John Kingston is under a lot of pressure form the fans at the club to get the players to perform away from home, the club only have 2 away wins this season against Bristol and Gloucester and have recently suffered a home defeat to the tigers in the their last home game at the Stoop.
The pressure is all on them, all their internationals will be back, Chris Robshaw & Horwill included, The Stoop will be sold out, and the fans will demand quality...what would happen if we win.
Well, one thing we do know for sure that an already rather negative Quins forum that has a thread of who they want sacked at the end of the season would go into melt down with more ''KINGSTON OUT THREADS'' than Donald Trump haters, and Kingston and Co. would likely get the sack I reckon. All the pressure is on them to put in a good performance, No one in this league likes losing to us at home, there will be no excuses for them with the squad that they will be fielding to not win this game, they have to perform.
Why Newcastle must get something out of this game.
Three on the trot...with nothing
1.) Yep, not for the first time the season, are we at risk of losing 3 premiership games on the bounce, but with no points at all from those games, with nothing to show against committed performances against Exeter & Saracens. We need to get something, just for a boost of confidence going into a huge game against Gloucester, I don't expect us to win this game, it is an extremely tough place to go, but what I do expect, as the team are professionals, is for them to be accurate and compete, to give everything for the shirt that is all you can ask.
A gain of confidence
2.) We weren't accurate enough against Exeter or Saracens who are the best sides in the country, whether it be Tait knocking on for a scoring opportunity, Takalua dropping the ball on the try line or conceding a turnover in the 22 ours or the oppositions, it's not good enough, and it will be killing our confidence, we really need a good show otherwise it could turn into a long end to the season for us.
Harlequins last 5 results
42-8 WIN AWAY @ BRISTOL IN PREMIERSHIP
22-12 LOSS AWAY @ BATH IN THE PREMIERSHIP
27-18 LOSS @ HOME TO TIGERS IN THE PREMIERSHIP
30-27 WIN AWAY @ GLOUCESTER IN THE PREMIERSHIP
24-7 LOSS AWAY @ EXETER IN THE ANGLO WELSH CUP
2 wins out of 5 games. 10 League points in last 4 premiership games.
Newcastle Falcons last 5 results
16-15 WIN @ HOME TO BATH IN THE ANGLO WELSH CUP
26-24 LOSS AWAY @ SALE IN THE PREMIERSHIP
46-31 WIN @ HOME TO SAINTS IN THE PREMIERSHIP
36-14 LOSS AWAY @ EXETER IN THE PREMIERSHIP
35-27 LOSS @ HOME TO SARACENS IN THE PREMIERSHIP
2 wins out of 5 games. 7 League points in last 4 premiership games.
The team I would like to see & changes I would make.
Callum Chick has been fantastic when ever he has played for the club and looked great against Exeter, putting in great carries and swatting away quality defenders like Don Armand with great running lines. This would not be a change because Latu has been poor, I just see Chick as being a better ball carrier for us, while Latu is more effective as a link player. The reason I think we will see Chick in is to run down the 10 channel at the quins fly half Nick Evan who is not the most confident of defenders and is absolutely falling to bits, we could well see the likes of Socino, Sinoti and a big NO.8 running down that channel looking to get over the gain line.
Love what Waldouck has brought for us this season, he has gave Sinoti so much good ball in space in recent weeks and has proven a quality distributor and done some great work on the floor. For me though, I'd like to see the bigger frame of Harris in to run down that 10 12 channel, Harris looked solid against Exeter in defence so he should be a good option to contain Marchant, Roberts and Alofa/Yarde.
My Newcastle Falcons to face Harlequins-
1. Rob Vickers
2. Kyle Cooper
3. Jon Welsh
4. Calum Green
5. Evan Olmsted
6. Mark Wilson
7. Will Welch (C)
8. Callum Chick
9. Sonantane Takalua (GK)
10. Mike Delany
12. Juan Pablo Socino
13. Chris Harris
11. Verniki Goneva
14. Sinoti Sinoti
15. Alex Tait
16. Ben Sowrey
17. David Wilson
18. Ben Harris
19. Sean Robinson or Witty
20. Nili Latu or Hogg
21. Sam Egerton
22. Mike Delany
23. Marcus Watson
A Harlequins player to watch out for-
Dave Ward has proven to be quality whenever he has played for Harlequins.
Always loved watching him play. Comfortable at either hooker or recently openside flanker. The proper power dwarf in the shape of Tigers and England legend Neil Back loves making a pest of himself over the ball and is a threat if you give him a sniff of a gap, he could power through you or offload the ball superbly to a support runner. He just loves having the ball in his hands, watch out for him on Saturday, whereever the ball normally is, he won't be too far away from it, top player to watch.