Cooper out to continue his strong start

Thursday 23 February 2017

Kyle Cooper is hoping to build on a fruitful first Aviva Premiership start when Newcastle Falcons travel to Exeter Chiefs on Saturday.

The South African hooker scored a try at home to Northampton Saints last weekend on his maiden league start, and believes his side are well-placed to record a first ever victory at Sandy Park.

Cooper, who joined the Falcons in the summer after playing a century of games for the Sharks and Natal Sharks, said: “It was good to get out there and to run out with the team, the boys went out and did the job and it was great just to be a part of it.

“First start and first try was a nice way to do it, but the most important thing was the team aspect and the fact we won the game. Hopefully we can go down to Exeter and improve on it.”

With almost 8,000 home supporters cheering him on in a performance which included a host of eye-catching carries, Cooper was quick to credit the role of the Kingston Park faithful.

He said: “The crowd here always get behind the boys – that’s one thing I have definitely noticed.

“They turned out in numbers and really made a difference last weekend, which is brilliant for the players. After the game there were a lot of congratulations from our fans, but it’s done and dusted now and we have to move on to the next challenge.

“There were a few sore bodies after the game but I think we have been conditioned that way. The strength and conditioning coaches have taken that into consideration this week and the boys are fresh to go again down at Exeter.”

Relishing the opportunity to run out at Sandy Park, Cooper added: “I have not played at Exeter before so it will be another first, but I obviously know they’re a quality side.

“Our focus this week has been more on us than them, and just going down there to do what we do. If that all comes together for us it will pay off on the day, but we know we have to work for it.

“It should be a good game to watch because we have two teams who want to go out there and move the ball around. There will be times when we need to play a little more conservatively but we have got world-class wingers who can score tries from anywhere, so we will play the right rugby in the right places and aim to concede fewer points than we have been.

“We are all of the mind-set to go down there and win the game, so for us four points is the goal.”

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