Matavesi: Falcons aren't in Philly to see the sights

Sunday 10 September 2017

Josh Matavesi insists it is strictly business for Newcastle Falcons this week despite their Aviva Premiership match against Saracens having been moved to the American city of Philadelphia.

The game takes place on Saturday at the 18,500-capacity Talen Energy Stadium, home of Major League Soccer side Philadelphia Union, but he Fiji centre is adamant that Premiership points are the only thing on their mind.

Matavesi said: “It’ll be a good experience but we have to realise we’re there for a reason, to play an important Aviva Premiership game and to win it.

“We’re not there to be tourists and go sightseeing. It’s a home game for us and we have to treat it the same as if we were playing at Kingston Park. There’ll be a lot of distractions and it will be a great life experience for the boys, but first and foremost we’re there to get points.

“There are a lot of excuses right there on a plate for you if you want to go that way – the travel, not being in your own environment, a different pitch and all the rest of it. But it’s a poor team that makes excuses, and we’re not a poor team.

“We will just concentrate on the things we can control, eliminate errors from our game and hopefully the rest will look after itself.”

Matavesi and his Falcons team-mates fly out to the USA today and will spend the full week in Philadelphia leading up to Saturday’s 5pm kick-off (10pm UK time), training at the University of Pennsylvania’s athletic facility.

Reporting positive signs from his time at the club after joining from Welsh region, Ospreys, he said: “I’ve been here for a few months now so I’m fully integrated. It has been easy to settle in and there’s a great competition within the squad.

“In the centres you have guys like Juan Pablo Socino, Chris Harris, Maxime Mermoz and a load of others, and we all push each other on. It’s a lot of hard work from the boys but a lot of fun at the same time. There’s a lot of camaraderie so it’s easy to settle in, and I’m loving my time here so far.”

Setting a high bar for the team as they embark on their American adventure, Matavesi said: “Everyone is very ambitious, and I think you’ve got to be as a professional sportsman. You’d be kidding yourself if you said or acted any differently, and you’d be in the wrong job.

“You can’t get ahead of yourself in this game and we’re not looking at places ahead of us in the league. We’re just concentrating on doing our basics right, implementing our game plan and preparing for the next game. I’m not going to comment on long-term league positions or things like that, because that’s not how I think. I’m just looking at winning the next game.”

Tickets for Saturday’s game in Philadelphia are available by clicking here.

UK viewers can catch all the action live on BT Sport, with Newcastle Falcons hosting a special screening at Kingston Park Stadium.

From 7pm until 8.30pm season ticket holders and seasonal corporate guests are invited to an exclusive 'meet the players' event. Season ticket holders wishing to attend are required to register by Tuesday September 12 by emailing fans@newcastle-falcons.co.uk , calling 0871 226 6060 or visiting the club shop in person during opening hours.

At 8.30pm the event is opened up to non-season ticket members, with food served. Season ticket members and seasonal hospitality guests are entitled to a free burger and chips, with non-season ticket members paying £10. For a further £10, both season ticket and non-season ticket holders can upgrade to a full American buffet.

The evening will conclude with a big-screen showing of the Falcons v Saracens match (kick-off 10pm UK time), with the bar open for the duration.

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