Playing at a high tempo will be the key to Newcastle Falcons winning in Tbilisi on Saturday says hooker Ben Sowrey, as Newcastle Falcons conclude their European Challenge Cup group campaign against Enisei-STM.
The Falcons are five from five at the top of Pool One and already assured of a home quarter-final thanks to the 64-7 victory they achieved over the Russian champions last weekend, and as they prepare for the re-match Sowrey is keen for a repeat of the pace which brought them their 10-try triumph.
“We put our game together quite well and managed to impose ourselves on Enisei, who are a big, physical bunch,” said the hooker.
“They fronted up right until the end and lacked nothing on that side, but overall I just think we had a little bit too much for them in terms of pace. This week is a totally different challenge, though. They’ll be more ready for us and more aware of what they’re facing, so we can’t take it lightly.”
Sunday’s Kingston Park rout brought a second-half hat-trick for 20-year-old flyer Adam Radwan and a 60-metre sprint from fellow wing Zach Kibirige, Sowrey stating: “Zach and Radders are absolutely rapid out wide, and teams know we can capitalise with those guys if they give us even half a sniff.
“It’s not just them, though, we’ve got plenty in midfield and all around the park.
“Enisei are a tough set of lads who try to draw you into an arm-wrestle, and if we go down that road then we’re playing into their hands. We just need to impose our shape on them, play at a high tempo, and if we do that then they’re big guys who can tire quickly.”
Even with a 57-point margin of victory last time out the Falcons are seeking improvements for their Georgian trek, which will involve the team travelling by coach to Edinburgh, spending a night in Istanbul and only arriving in Georgia 20 hours before kick-off.
Chief among those improvements will be keeping a clean sheet in terms of tries conceded, Enisei having pushed back the tide of tries to manage one of their own in the dying stages of the game.
“We pride ourselves on our defence and it was really annoying to concede that try,” said Sowrey.
“The coaches have been working us hard on defence this week and I don’t think they were that impressed by us conceding one the way we did, but Enisei are a decent side and they do have threats who can score.
“We can make a lot of excuses about the travel and the rest of it, but at the end of the day we’re a professional team. We’ve got to go out there and do what we’re paid to do, and that’s what will get us the result.”
Determined not to end a seven-game winning run which began on December 1 in Northampton, there is more than just pride to play for as Newcastle aim to maximise their chances of a home semi-final by securing a top-two seeding.
“We all know how important the top two could be in terms of getting home games later on if we were to get there, but for me it’s the psychological thing of going through the group stage unbeaten which is the motivation,” said Sowrey.
“That would put us in good stead going into the quarter-finals, not to mention the next couple of Anglo-Welsh Cup games we have coming up.
“Also, this winning run is huge for us, and you can see it from the smiles on faces when we come into work every day. It just gets the ball rolling in terms of the hard work we are all putting in, everyone’s up for it and we all want to be involved in that winning environment.”