Sonatane Takulua is hopeful that Newcastle Falcons can extend their unbeaten home streak to five games on Sunday when Edinburgh visit Kingston Park in Heineken Champions Cup action.
The 3.15pm kick-off sees Newcastle out to avenge the 31-13 loss they suffered last Friday at BT Murrayfield, scrum-half Takulua confident Newcastle can regain the form which saw them top the pool five standings after victory over Toulon and Montpellier in the opening two rounds.
“We’re very confident of giving a good account of ourselves on Sunday, the boys are really keen in training and everyone knows their jobs,” said the Tonga captain.
“You don’t often get the chance to correct a result so quickly after a defeat, so this is a golden opportunity for us to get the win and go back to the top of the table.
“If we can win the game and even get a bonus point that would be fantastic for us in the competition, especially in the season that the final is at St James’ Park.
“The fact that the final is in Newcastle is another thing which is driving us on. I know it shouldn’t matter but it’s just a little extra motivation to know what an amazing spectacle it could be, and the guys are really excited about this chance of a lifetime.”
Forced into playing a loose-head at tight-head prop last weekend due to a barrage of injuries and inflexible registration restrictions, Takulua said: “Last week’s game saw us down in terms of tight-heads but I thought Sam Lockwood showed a lot of bravery to do what he did in moving over from loose-head.
“We tried to get the ball in and out as quickly as we could and on the first few scrums we did OK, but Edinburgh are a good side who had lots of quality in that area, so it was always going to be tough. This weekend we’re a bit better off in that position with guys being registered and returning to fitness, and we’re expecting it to be much different.”
With a strong home attendance expected for such a pivotal encounter, the former Northland star added: “Our supporters are great with us here and I’d expect a lot of backing on Sunday, which really does make a difference.
“If we win this weekend it gives us more confidence moving back into the Premiership, and it’s a huge chance for us.
“We’re finding our confidence and belief a little bit more, the coaches are working well to improve things and the squad are buying into it. We still have a lot of time to bounce back in the league, Europe is also a big opportunity for us and we’re just looking forward to it all.”
Tickets for Sunday’s game are available by clicking here.