Newcastle Falcons head coach Peter Russell insists his side are in confident mood going into this Sunday’s Aviva Premiership showdown with Gloucester Rugby at Kingston Park (kick-off 3pm).
Sat alongside director of rugby Dean Richards and forwards coach John Wells in the technical box at Welford Road last week, the Kiwi coach watched on as his side were brushed aside by reigning champions Leicester Tigers in a frenetic affair.
But Russell, who joined the Falcons coaching team just over a year ago, believes the Gloucester match has come at the perfect time for his players.
“We took a bit of a beating down at Leicester, and the lads now have a point to prove on home turf against Gloucester,” said Russell.
He added: “This is one of those games that we are very much targeting – at the end of the day we didn’t front up last week, and it’s time for those boys to redeem themselves and we are giving those boys the opportunity to perform.”
Gloucester, with former Falcons coach Paul Moriarty and ex-Falcons lock James Hudson in their ranks, travel to the North East with a spring in their step following a last ditch victory over Northampton Saints. A Billy Twelvetrees penalty with the last kick of the contest sealed the points for the West Countrymen, albeit in contentious circumstances.
Russell is expecting an expansive game from the Cherry and Whites, saying: “They can move the ball from side to side at speed, and they have quality throughout their side.
“They have leaders across the backline and good decision makers. I know we’ve got our work cut out, but I know that we’re up for the scrap.
“Teams don’t like coming up here, and that’s what I’ve heard, and it’s also what we proved last year in the Championship.
“I expect them to come up here and keep their game plan relatively simple, and I think we’ll be worthy challengers this week.”
Tickets are still available for the game by calling the Falcons Ticket Hotline on 0871 226 6060 or click here to purchase online.