Simplicity the key for Freddie Lockwood

Wednesday 23 March 2022

Newcastle Falcons academy graduate Freddie Lockwood hopes his no-nonsense approach can keep him in the first-team selection picture.

The 21-year-old made his Gallagher Premiership debut at Harlequins this month, then his first start last weekend against Leicester Tigers, catching the eye with his rampaging ball-carrying.

“It’s been really good, really exciting and I’ve loved being involved,” said Lockwood, the former Barnard Castle School pupil who played his junior rugby with Malton & Norton.

“There were a few injuries for the Harlequins away game so I got a run from the bench, and thankfully it’s kicked on from there.

“I had a first start against Leicester last weekend, and hopefully I can put my hand up to have some sort of involvement down at Wasps this Saturday. It’s good just to be in that environment, and if I was selected I’d obviously look forward to getting stuck in.”

Making the BT Sport highlight reel on his debut at Harlequins by running over the top of home lock Hugh Tizard, Lockwood then raced 70 metres last Friday against Leicester in helping set up a try for Zach Kerr.

“I actually fell over immediately before the run at Harlequins even though there were no opposition players anywhere near me, but the club’s social media were kind enough to edit out that bit when they posted the run after the game,” joked the back-five forward.

“It’s always nice to get a carry like that in a game, and people seem to respond to it. Ball-carrying is probably my main asset, maybe tackling as well, but it’s pretty no-nonsense kind of stuff. I just try to keep it simple – run fast and hard – and if I do that, then hopefully I’ll help the team.”

Waiting patiently for his playing opportunities in a season without any reserve-league action, Lockwood explained his route to the first team squad.

“For the past couple of years I’ve been on dual-registration at Blaydon to get some game time, which has been good, and then this season I’ve been with Darlington Mowden Park in National One,” he said.

“I’ve just been biding my time, waiting for an opportunity with the Falcons, and it’s been great. I just need to take my chances when they come, because making myself a regular in the first team is what I’m aiming for in the longer term.

“I started off at Malton and Norton Rugby Club, and was playing up at Barnard Castle School as well. I’d play schools rugby on a Saturday and then club stuff on a Sunday. Some people might say you shouldn’t be doing that, but I just loved playing rugby, and it’s great to get a few shout-outs from Malton & Norton and Barny on their social media.

“I was in the same club side as Cam Kelemeti, who has also come through with the Falcons, and it’s great that there’s a whole group of us now starting to push into the first-team side of things around the same time.

“It can obviously pretty intimidating in a way when you come into that environment as a young player, so to have a good number of your peers and your mates also doing it at the same time has been really helpful for all of us.”

Determined to throw his hat into the ring for Saturday’s Gallagher Premiership trip to the Coventry Building Society Arena, he added: “It’ll be a tough game down at Wasps, but that’s what we like.

“They’ve got some big ball carriers, guys like Jack Willis are strong over the ball and we’ll have to watch out for them. Having said that, we’ve already beaten them this season, so there’s no reason why we can’t go down there and do it again.”

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