Falcons back row expecting big test from side ranked 13th in the world.
Newcastle Falcons Will Welch is eager to test himself against international opposition at the end of August, when the Georgian national team are the visitors in a match that is forming part of the country’s World Cup preparations.
It will be the first time the Falcons have taken on an international side in an invitational match since November 2013, when they overcame Tonga in a 24-13 win at Kingston Park and with only three weeks thereafter until the big RWC kick off, Welch is expecting a tough match.
“I think it’s their last game before they go to the World Cup so it will be pretty competitive, in terms of people wanting to get places. It will be a tough game for our first one but it’s one that all the lads are looking forward to. It’s an international match so it’s exciting.”
“I’m definitely looking forward to it; you want to test yourself against international teams like that because you want to see how you stand up against them.”
Facing a team well known for their power in the forwards, the Falcons flanker expects there to be more to the Lelos performance at Kingston Park, as they fine tune themselves for their first group game against Tonga.
“I think they are renowned for being physical and having a good scrum, there are a lot of Georgian boys at top clubs, especially front rowers. They’ll have a bit more to their game though than just being big brutes and a good scrummage.”
Beyond acting as a first hit out for Newcastle, the match will also provide an added bit of intrigue for the Falcons players coaches and fans, with three of the Georgian players potentially involved set to make the trip to Kingston Park in the 2015/16 European Challenge Cup.
Props Kakha Asieshvili and Anton Peikrishvili play their club rugby in France with Brive, while centre Davit Kacharava is a member of the Enisey-STM side in Russia. While the clubs will be a different proposition, the chance to go up against these players will provide some insights for use later in the season.
Welch said: “It will give us a little bit of an insight into the players that they are. The more you play against someone the more you understand them. They’ll be a bit different when they play for their clubs, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.”
Right now though, the 25 year old and his team mates focus remains on completing the preparations for the new season, which in his eyes, have been going well.
“We’ve got a bit more conditioning stuff and then we’re into more rugby but it is going really well. I think having a little bit more time we can focus on certain aspects rather than jumble it all up and condense it like most year but its feeling good.”
“I think it’s probably one of the best pre seasons that I’ve had since I have been here. All the boys are working hard and are in great shape, but you never really know until the season starts and you start playing games.”
Tickets for the game against The Lelos are on sale now and can be booked by clicking here calling 0871 2266060 or by calling into the Kingston Park box office during office hours.