Tyrone Holmes says he is chomping at the bit for his Newcastle Falcons debut in today’s Anglo-Welsh Cup visit of Northampton Saints, after an injury-hit start to the season.
The former Scotland flanker was signed from Glasgow Warriors in the summer and had been impressing in pre-season action before damaging his medial knee ligament, an injury which kept him out for the first six weeks of the campaign.
Having made his comeback for the club’s second string he now makes his competitive bow for the senior side, the ex-Stormers and Western Province man starting at open-side in a fleet-footed back-row which also includes Ally Hogg and Callum Chick.
Holmes said: “It was frustrating. That’s all it has really been. I’m just happy to be here, feeling great. My body’s feeling good now and I just want to get out there.
“I’m not looking at the wait as a completely negative thing. Me being here for another six weeks has given me a little more time to get stronger in the gym, getting to know the boys better, get to know the plays better. I’ve taken the positives out of what was a negative situation.”
Pleased by what he has found at Kingston Park since his arrival, the Pro 12 title winner said: “It’s great. I’m really loving it. The guys have got lots of heart and belief. I just like the fact that they all want to work for each other, they’re a real tight bunch of lads and I’m really enjoying that.
“Back-row is a very competitive area here, and if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. I’m glad that those players who have been playing have been doing really well, but they are now getting a bit of a break and some time off. It gives me an opportunity to put my hand up and get involved.”
On the challenge posed by Northampton, he added: “I’m really looking forward to it because I know a lot of their guys as well.
“Saints are always going to be tough up front and very physical at the set piece, where they can be a dominant team. We’ll look to take that away from them and then try and impose ourselves and our game plan.
“The Anglo-Welsh Cup is important. It is for me. It’s my first proper hit-out for the Falcons and none of the boys will be taking it lightly. There’ll be a few boys in the team who are fighting for positions, and it is such a competitive squad that no one can afford to take a break.”
Tickets for today’s game are available by calling 0871 226 6060 or from the Kingston Park ticket office. Season ticket members are reminded this game is included in their package.
The game will be preceded by a two-minute silence, playing of the ‘Last Post’ and the laying of a wreath on the field, with the Poppy Appeal collecting in and around the ground. After the match at 5.15pm on the main pitch there will be a match between the 3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery and 4th Regiment Artillery, while all supporters can enjoy free food at around 5.30pm when Curry Corner returns to the East Stand Tap & Tackle bar.