Head coach Peter Russell is expecting a physical test when his Newcastle Falcons charges welcome Bucharest Wolves to Kingston Park in the Amlin Challenge Cup tomorrow evening (kick-off 7.30pm).
And while the Falcons’ European fate is out of their hands, the Kiwi coach insists it is important for his side to get back to winning ways against a team littered with Romanian internationals.
“We came back from Bucharest with bumps and bruises earlier in the season, and this time round I’m expecting another physical battle,” said Russell, who saw Tom Catterick kick a last ditch penalty to win the game for Newcastle when the two sides met in the Romanian capital back in October.
He added: “We just need to play our own game, relax and enjoy ourselves. I think all of our processes that we’ve been working on have been spot on, and looking back at the past couple of weeks we’ve prepared very well and this game is all about getting back out there and enjoying it.”
Reflecting on last week’s narrow 9-7 loss at the hands of Pool 3 leaders Brive, Russell said: “It was tough to take for the first couple of days as it was a game very much there for the taking.
“We made a lot of mistakes and didn’t take our opportunities when they were presented to us. I was pleased with the way in which our youngsters performed last week, particularly given the conditions and it will certainly continue their development at the club.
“Zach Kibirige and Scott Wilson, who both played last week, have been away with England Under-20s this week and that’s good for the club.”
In recent weeks refereeing has come under scrutiny from all corners of the rugby world with the New Zealander adding: “It’s tough to adapt to the referees in the various competitions that we are participating in. It’s one of those things that we can’t control and we have to manage the officiating a little bit better.”
Tickets for the game are still available by calling the Falcons Ticket Hotline on 0871226 6060 or click here to purchase online.