Vereniki Goneva has been giving Newcastle Falcons the inside track on Leicester Tigers ahead of Sunday’s Aviva Premiership meeting at Kingston Park Stadium (kick-off 3pm).
The Fijian try machine dotted down 44 tries in his 94 outings for the Tigers during four seasons with the club, swapping the East Midlands for Tyneside over the summer, and he knows stopping his old team at source could prove key.
“We had a team review, and they put on some things we can work on to try to upset Leicester this year,” said Goneva, who won a Premiership title during his time with the Welford Road outfit.
“The boys are working hard this week to stop them at the set piece. We know they’re a good team, we just have to stop the first play. We don’t want them to get any momentum.
“I was there for four seasons and this is going to be an exciting week for us as a team. It will be a difficult game. We know Leicester are a big team and we had a disappointing week last week. They also lost last week so it’s going to be an exciting game, and we’re at home, so we want to put it right this week.”
Confident Newcastle can return to winning ways after an unbeaten pre-season and a win first up against Sale in the league, Goneva insists the defeat suffered at Bath a week ago can be quickly forgotten.
The winger said: “We had a few warm-up games and won them, then we beat Sale. But we got down to Bath and we were a little bit disappointed with how we played, so this week we will try to put it right. Personally I just think mentally we were off a little bit, and we know we can’t do that against big teams like Bath and Leicester. When everything is on target physically and mentally I think we can do better.”
A known quantity to the Tigers following his prolific stint with the club, Goneva said: “In my first year we won the Premiership, and Leicester have the mentality to win every game. They always put 100% into every game so I think it’s going to be an exciting one.
“We know we can upset the big teams here. We proved that last year when some of them came here. Last year we (Leciester) just came up short. We have all the tools here at Newcastle and our supporters will really back the boys. It’s going to be a big week for us all.
“Some teams have to travel far and they come here hoping for good weather, but they get here and it’s cold. Hopefully it’s going to be tough for them but we enjoy it when it’s like that, and the supporters are behind us so it’s going to be tough for Leicester up here.”
Tickets for Sunday’s game are available by clicking here, calling 0871 226 6060 or from the stadium in person. The Aviva Premiership game is followed at 5.15pm by rugby league action, when Newcastle Thunder host North Wales Crusaders in the Kingstone Press League 1 Shield final. Fans with tickets for the Falcons game are welcome to stay on at no extra charge.