Sinoti Sinoti is expecting a full-blooded onslaught from Cornish Pirates on Sunday as Newcastle Falcons look to record their 19th straight victory.
The unbeaten Falcons are 12 points clear at the top of the Greene King IPA Championship after winning all 12 of their league games, and with Sunday’s Kingston Park clash seeing them host the third-placed Pirates, their push for Premiership promotion could move a step closer.
Not that the Samoan stepper is taking anything for granted, Sinoti having been part of the Falcons team which was pushed all the way during their 18-9 victory in Cornwall back in October.
“The Pirates will come at us harder and faster, and they caused us some trouble early on when we played them down there,” said Sinoti, who has made 107 appearances for the Falcons, 13 of them this season.
“We’ll look to nip that in the bud as early as we can do but it won’t be easy, because they’re a good side and they’ll be up for it.
“It should be a good match, and I think anyone who has bought a ticket for it will enjoy what they see out there.
“We have to show the Pirates respect and earn our go-forward so we can then move the ball wide, and I’m sure our forward pack will front up. Whatever it takes, we have to earn that right, and once we’ve done that we can create the opportunities to score some tries.”
Looking to the bigger picture, the winger said: “It’s a big game for us, and it’s getting serious for us now as we get closer to that point when we can confirm our promotion back to the Premiership.
“We’re not there yet, there’s still a lot of work to be done and nobody here is taking anything for granted. The goal is some way to being achieved, but we can’t afford to slip up.
“I’m just going to be honest here – we won’t be content until we’re back in the Premiership.
“The boys haven’t been that happy after our wins and it has been a quiet team bus all season, because nobody is celebrating anything until we’ve done enough to go up.”
Cornish Pirates have lost only three of their 12 league games this season, also progressing through for a home quarter-final in the Championship Cup.
“Cornish Pirates are a strong side as you’d expect from a team who are third in the league, and they’ll chance their arm against us,” said Sinoti, who started in last weekend’s bonus-point victory at Hartpury.
“It’s away from home and it’s on TV so they’re the underdogs looking to turn us over, and as a player that’s a great position for them to be in. It’s similar to when the Falcons have played someone like Saracens in previous seasons – there’s no pressure on you and guys love being the underdog.
“All we can do is just try to keep our focus and get the job done in a really professional way, like we’ve been doing all season. We just want to get back up to the Premiership, and this is the next hurdle in our way towards that goal.
“The fact it’s a TV game is great for the club in terms of the extra exposure but it doesn’t make any difference to the players, because we’re just doing the job we always do.
“All we’re concerned about is getting back up to the Premiership – that’s where the real exposure is and that’s where we want to be.”
Expecting Sunday’s visitors to test the Falcons’ defence in a variety of ways, he added: “In the Championship what you tend to find is that teams will just chance their arm and try something totally new, whereas the Premiership tends to be safer and more structured where everything is played by the book.
“In the Championship the teams have a bit of structure but they just go freestyle at times, which is quite tough to defend because you don’t know what’s coming. It can catch you off-guard if you’re not ready, whereas with the Premiership clubs there’s so much structure and video analysis that you kind of know what’s coming – even if you can’t always stop it.
“All the teams in the Championship this season seem to raise their game when they play against us, and it’s a bit of a cup final mentality for them. They really relish playing against us and we’ve had some close games, but so far we’ve always been able to get past that and get the results on the board.”
Tickets for Sunday’s 3pm kick-off are available by clicking here or calling 0871 226 6060, and include entry into the women’s game between Newcastle Falcons and Exeter Chiefs at 11.30am. Buy before game day to save £3 per ticket.