Andy Saull leads his team out against Newport Gwent Dragons on Saturday

Saull in search of response in final ERCC pool game

Monday 19 January 2015

Flanker calling for big performance to keep qualification hopes alive.

Newcastle Falcons flanker Andy Saull is calling on his team mates to show their true qualities this weekend in Romania as the club look to bounce back from defeat to Newport Gwent Dragons last Sunday.

The Falcons are still able to claim one of the three best runners up spots and make it through to the knock out stages of the Challenge Cup for the first time in six years and Saull is under no illusions of the task at hand.

Speaking after Saturday’s game, he said: “We’re not down and out, but our backs are to the wall so next week, it will be time to roll our sleeves up and scrap. Hopefully we can start against Bucharest how we finished the game against the Dragons.”

“If we play right and play hard, we know we can come away with a decent result that could put us through to the next round and that will be 100% what we are working towards this week.”

Having defeated the Romanian side 43-19 at Kingston Park in October, Saull stressed that on their own turf, the Wolves will pose a hard proposition.

“They will be a different animal at home. You see that in this competition that teams from on the continent don’t tend to travel well, but they do have players there who want to make it hard work for you.”

“If we let them bully us or we start as passively as we did against the Dragons then we will be in for a very tough day but if we start as we did against them at home where we are the aggressors then hopefully we will come away with what we need.”

Reflecting on what became an enthralling game, Saull, like his Director of Rugby, faults his and his team-mates’ reaction to the sin bin period for Saturday’s loss against the Dragons, rather than the sin binning itself.

“It wasn’t the sin bin that cost us, it was how we reacted to it. We missed a crucial line out, our kick chase wasn’t good enough and we missed two exits from our half. We had opportunities to clear our lines and slow the game down and make it easier for ourselves, but unfortunately we weren’t clinical enough in getting out of our half.”

“We made critical errors that were capitalised on by their good play. It was a bit of a tough pill to swallow, but credit to the Dragons for making the most of their advantage.”

Fighting back to earn what could prove to be a crucial try bonus point, Saull believes he and his team mates can take valuable lessons from the round five fixture that can help them throughout the rest of the season.

“Dealing with sin bins was something that we had at the start of the season, where we were losing points to being a man down. We managed to turn that round in the Premiership but unfortunately today we perhaps didn’t show the composure and maturity that we had shown during previous games.”

“On Saturday, I think, it was perhaps a lesson in humility for us, it felt a bit in the first half that we were believing the hype around our new attacking ability and how we can score and play this beautiful brand of rugby that we have shown in the Premiership.

“I think guys weren’t working hard enough to create the chances to do that and we were just expecting it to happen.”

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