Lawson hoping for St James' Park bounce

Thursday 29 March 2018

Scott Lawson hopes some of the 30,174 who witnessed last weekend’s St James’ Park heroics can be tempted back to Kingston Park Stadium on Good Friday when Newcastle Falcons host French club Brive in the quarter-finals of the European Challenge Cup.

The Scotland hooker was part of the Falcons squad which defeated Northampton 25-22 at the home of Newcastle United last Saturday, saying: “We had an unbelievable number of supporters watching us play last week, the experience was good and hopefully some of those guys can come back to Kingston Park to see a quality game of rugby.

“We want to get more people in here, we had a good showcase on Saturday and it’s something we hope to build on.”

Looking back on last weekend’s exploits, Lawson said: “We talked a lot last week about the occasion of St James’ Park, but when we came in on Monday to review it we just proceeded as normal, taking that out of the equation.

“We reviewed it purely as a rugby game, analysing what we did well and not so well, and that’s the process which has stood us in good stead. At this time of year there’s a little bit more at stake, but we have to remember what has got us here and just keep doing it.”

The Falcons qualified for the European Challenge Cup quarter-finals as the second seed in the tournament, winning all six of their group games against Welsh side Dragons, French club Bordeaux-Begles and Russian outfit Enisei-STM.

“We’ve done well in this competition, our group stage form got us a home quarter-final and it’s a game we’re looking forward to off the back of a great occasion at St James’ Park last weekend,” said Lawson, who starts against Brive.

“We want to take that form back to Kingston Park and really make home advantage count, we came away with four vital Premiership points and the whole occasion was great. The fact we had Doddie Weir bringing the match ball out and getting 30,000 fans in, that was amazing, but in the cold light of the day we ground out four important points.

“We can now leave the emotion of the occasion, put it behind us and just think of four valuable Premiership points which leave us in a great position to move forward in the league.

“It’s knock-out rugby now, we want to be in the European semi-finals and we know we have a tough game against Brive. We’ve made Kingston Park a very difficult place for teams to come, we want that to continue and we’ve been quite good at bouncing between the various competitions this season.

“The feelgood factor around the club has been really good, we’ve raised the level of performance and our results have followed.”

Expecting a robust contest against a French side currently locked in a Top 14 survival fight, he added: “I think Brive will come across to win, without a doubt.

“Whatever players they send and even though they’re in a relegation fight back home, we’re expecting a fully-committed physical showing from them.

“When you look at the players they’ve got, they’re big physical men, and when they get some momentum they can play some good rugby off the back of it. Our challenge is to match them in that physicality and intensity, and from there we can get into the style and the brand we have been showing this season.”

Tickets for Friday’s 8pm kick-off are available by clicking here, calling 0871 226 6060 or from Kingston Park Stadium in person.

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