Earle: Mind-set the key on Sunday

Tuesday 15 February 2022

Nathan Earle is backing Newcastle Falcons to find the right mental approach going into Sunday’s visit of Exeter Chiefs.

The winger was part of the side which won 15-14 in November to record their first victory away to the Devon side, with Newcastle now eyeing up a Gallagher Premiership home-and-away double.

“It was a hard-fought win where the forwards probably got us over the line,” recalled Earle, whose side ground out the win thanks to a Ben Stevenson try and a late Brett Connon penalty.

“In the end it was Bhuna’s try and that penalty from Brett which secured the result, but it was the classic no-nonsense Newcastle Falcons performance.

“I’d say the DNA of this club is hard-working no-nonsense blokes playing for each other, and that’s what we showed down at Exeter. As good as it was to have that victory down at Sandy Park, though, you’ve got to put it to one side in terms of this weekend.”

Setting out in search of their first win since the trip to Biarritz on January 14, the multiple Premiership title winner said: “This weekend is a lot about mind-set.

“We’ll do our homework as usual, but you know what you’re getting with Exeter. Their style of play hasn’t changed too much over the years, and it’s just about understanding that.

“They’re going to hold onto the ball for long periods of time, they’ll carry hard and when they do stick the bomb up it’s about the back-three guys looking after that and making sure we can secure the ball to put them under pressure.

“Exeter may not be performing at their very best so far this season but you can never count them out, because they’ve won multiple Premiership titles and a European Cup. You definitely can’t rest on your laurels going into any game against them, because they turn up every week and put it in.”

Earle was on the score-sheet in the Falcons’ last Gallagher Premiership outing at Bristol, dotting down a second-half try before the odd number of teams in the league handed the Falcons a bye in last weekend’s round of matches.

“My job is to score tries, so it’s obviously nice to get over the line whenever I can,” said the former Saracens and Harlequins man.

“What I like most is scoring tries. It’s taken me a bit of time to get my first, but hopefully I can keep getting opportunities and taking them when they arrive.

“In terms of the bye round, the week away has given lads the time to re-evaluate things, spend some time with their families and come back fresh for this big period of games. Sometimes you just need that little break to rejuvenate yourself, and really attack this last third of the season.”

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