Aviva A League rugby returns to Kingston Park on Monday evening when Newcastle Falcons will take on Gloucester United with kick off at 7pm.
Riding high at the top of the Northern Conference, the Falcons have won all three of their games to date, and have a real chance of going on to contest the semi finals after the regular rounds are complete in December.
Boasting a number of first team players in the ranks and some of the club’s most promising rising talent, Flanker Andy Saull has been taking on the captaincy role for the side ran by Academy Manager Mark Laycock and Head Coach James Ponton, a level of responsibility he has been relishing.
Saull said: “I’m really enjoying my time in the A team, I’m captaining the side which I haven’t done since I was 16 good to use my unique style of captaincy.”
“Anyone around the club will tell you I am a bundle of energy so to be able to try and put that energy and excitement through a team is quite fun. I’m all about getting amongst it and geeing the boys and being one of the lads and raising morale so with everyone buzzing it’s a good atmosphere to play in.”
An outlet for members of the senior squad and academy to remain match sharp and state their case for inclusion in the first team’s fixtures, Saull says there are a number of players in the A team doing just that.
“There are a number of the lads doing the business and really putting themselves forward for positions in the first team. Richard Mayhew has been playing really well, while Jamie Helleur has been a machine in the centres in attack and defence, so I’d expect them to be impressing the bosses!”
As for his own ambitions, Saull has the same aim of using his A League outings to force his way into the selection plans of the first team and insists he will continue to push until that happens.
“I think I’m playing well in the A League and holding up my hands as best I can. I will be trying to keep on playing well and be ready to answer the call of the coaches when it comes.”
Looking ahead to Monday’s fixture, which is free to enter to all supporters, Saull expects another good performance from a team whose confidence is high.
“As I said, the lads are buzzing, which you’d expect from a team that has won three games very convincingly. We won with a bonus point against Leicester, won well against Bristol and then dogged out a win last week at Sale.”
“Everyone knows how strong the Falcons academy has been over the years and that is full credit to Marko and Jimmy and the culture within the team.”
For those wishing to attend Monday’s A Team fixture, the East Stand and terrace will be open, with entry to the stand being via the clubhouse bar.