Ryan Burrows says Newcastle Falcons will be making no excuses in Georgia on Saturday, despite having already qualified for the quarter-finals of the European Challenge Cup.
Last weekend’s 64-7 home win over Russian champions Enisei-STM secured them a home quarter-final with one pool game remaining, but as they prepare for a re-match against the same opponents in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi the No 8 says there is still plenty to play for.
“Everyone knows we still need to secure a top-two seeding which would give us a home semi-final if we get through the quarters, but another big motivation is the result the last time we played Enisei away two years ago,” said the Yorkshireman, who scored the last one of Newcastle’s 10 tries on Sunday with a 50-metre solo sprint.
“I wasn’t at the club at the time but we lost over in Sochi, and it has been talked about in the build-up this week. We want to finish the group stages unbeaten, we want a top two place in the seedings and it’s all about being professional in how we prepare.
“That includes the mental side of the game, and there are a lot of excuses there if guys want to make them. There’s the long flights, the fact it’s taking us two days to get there, how that impacts on training schedules, unfamiliar surroundings and all things like that. But we don’t want to go down that road, we’re not a team who make excuses and we need to put those things out of our mind.
“We’re going there for the win, and after we’ve secured the win we’ll look for the bonus point. Nothing else is in our thoughts, but we know we’ll have to work for it because Enisei are not a bad side. They’ve shown it by running Dragons and Bordeaux close during their games, and with the Falcons being on a seven-game winning run we don’t want to be the group of players who put an end to that.”
Reflecting on his barnstorming try in the final act of Sunday’s game, Burrows joked: “I was just glad the referee blew for full-time straight after!
“It was a good all-round performance and it shows what we’re about this season, which is scoring lots of tries and playing an entertaining brand of rugby. We knew Enisei were going to bring a big set-piece which we had to counter-act, and I thought we did that really well.
“Toby Flood hit he nail on the head in the lead-up to the match, saying if we allow them to play their style of game then it will become an arm-wrestle, but if we play our style for 80 minutes we’ll put them to the sword. I thought we did that on the day, but we know they’re not a bad side if we allow them to dictate the game.”
Winger Adam Radwan continued his prolific scoring streak with a second-half hat-trick, Burrows saying: “Radders is flying with another three tries, then we had Zach Kibirige and Cam Cowell also putting great pace onto the play.
“There’s some serious gas in that team, and if you give them an inch they’ll take a mile. Radders in particular has great footwork combined with the speed that everyone knows about, and as a defender he asks you allsorts of questions.
“I’m just glad he’s on my team and that I don’t have to chase him all round the field in defence!”