Scott Lawson says a large and vocal Kingston Park crowd can make the difference as Newcastle Falcons host Exeter Chiefs in Friday’s ‘Big Night Oot’.
The 8pm Aviva Premiership kick-off looks set to see a biggest home crowd of the season for a club who have already seen league attendances up 18% on last year, Lawson saying: “It’s going to be great, and the focus the club have put on it is brilliant.
“We have really developed a great core of season ticket holders who come every week, and we massively appreciate that support. For this game we have exceeded that and drawn in some new fans, so from the players’ point of view it is all about rewarding that with Premiership points. We want to increase the numbers and make sure these guys come back, and the way we do that is by performing on the night.”
The Scottish hooker has been part of a squad which has won two of its three home matches in the Premiership, losing just once at Kingston Park Stadium by a single point to Leicester Tigers.
He said: “The whole league has been very competitive. There has been no stand-out team – a couple at the top maybe – but anyone can beat anyone on their day. We have had that confidence of getting some wins on the board, and we know if we turn up and perform we are in with a great shout.
“In terms of Exeter, every team in this league is competitive. They have maybe not had the results they had last year, they have lost a few but they are still a very good side. They got to the Premiership final last year and they’re a Champions Cup team, they have built on their squad and they an established Premiership outfit now.
“They play a very direct and physical game, they have strong ball carriers and once they do that they try and play some expansive rugby. They have got threats, they have quality and they try to play some good rugby, so it will be the kind of challenge you expect every time you play in this league.”
Moving back into the Premiership after a fortnight of Anglo-Welsh Cup action, the vastly experienced Lawson believes Newcastle will have benefited from the exposure offered during the cup window.
“We have trained well, we have confidence and some of the guys have had a couple of weeks to recover,” he said.
“I think the mood is really good. Those games give guys who haven’t had too much rugby a chance to stake their claim, they are doing that and everyone wants to play in the Premiership. That is our main competition and everyone wants to play in those games, successful teams have competition for places and that’s very much what we want to do.
“We’ve had an opportunity to freshen it up these last couple of weeks, hopefully we can now raise the level of performance and the real meat of the season is when it really counts.
“The guys on the fringes of the squad and who don’t necessarily get a lot of game time are probably the most important people in your squad, because they drive the standards in training, they keep the guys on their toes and define what the club is about. We have a great bunch of guys, a great squad, and it means training is competitive as well as delivering a better team on the weekend.”
Tickets for the Big Night Oot are selling fast, but are still available by calling 0871 226 6060 or clicking here.