Burdon backs Falcons to pounce on opportunities

Thursday 10 November 2016

Fred Burdon believes Newcastle Falcons can make big gains from small adjustments as they head to Saracens in Anglo-Welsh Cup action on Saturday.

The centre will captain the side for the 1pm kick-off as both sides aim to bounce back from opening-day defeats – Newcastle losing 24-16 at home to Northampton despite making a string of line-breaks.

Burdon said: “I think if you look at the game there were a lot of line-breaks, but there were a lot of errors. We need to capitalise on our line-breaks, take our chances and make the most of some of the positive aspects of our play.

“I think we made a heap of line-breaks against Northampton, but we didn’t capitalise on them for a number of reasons. I knocked on a grubber which I should have picked up and scored a try from, there were turnovers after we made line-breaks and people were left isolated.

“In international rugby there aren’t as many line-breaks but the best teams in the world, when they get them, they score. We aspire to that.”

Up against a Sarries side defeated by Gloucester last time out, Burdon added: “They’re the European and Premiership champions for a reason. They’re coached well, they play well and they do it week in, week out. That’s a perfect test for us to bounce back.

“Saracens are famed for a couple of aspects of their game. They’ll be very direct in attack and have a good kicking game, and they want to put a lot of pressure on you when you have the ball. We’ve prepped for that all week and we’ve got to be ready for it on Saturday.

“The focus has got to be on our own game, and Gloucester to a certain extent showed us the way to go. They scored 36 points and played well at the weekend to beat Saracens, and we have to take lessons from that.”

Delighted to be captaining the side for the second time this season, the former Leeds and Cambridge University man said: “Firstly, it was a massive surprise. I’ve been at the club before but to be new to the group, it was a surprise and an honour. It’s been a good challenge, really. It’s nice that the people around the club think I can do it.

“It’s new for me. I’ve not captained before, so I’m getting used to it myself. Anyone who’s captaining a team will say it means you’ve got to perform. If you’re not holding up your end, you can’t really expect other people to. You’re first up. It’s a pressure, but a good pressure that inspires you to play as well as you possibly can.”

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