Taione Vea says forward battle will decide Bath clash
Taione Vea says the forward battle holds the key on Friday night as Newcastle Falcons make the Aviva Premiership trip to Bath.
The Tongan prop starts in a side showing four changes from last week’s loss at Exeter, Newcastle aiming to do the double over Bath after defeating them at Kingston Park in January.
Vea said: “We are definitely planning on bringing something back from the game, and we know first and foremost that it is going to be won up front. We need to take that platform away from them and put some points on the board through the backs, but the boys are up for it and we are determined to go down there and do it.”
Relishing a trip to the Rec in front of the BT Sport cameras, Vea said: “I am not a big fan of the mud and the wet but it is a good place to go and play rugby.
“The boys are all looking forward to it, especially on the back of the result the last time we played them up here. We feel confident as a group and are looking to get some points out of it.
“It has been tough because we have gone through a good phase and then gone down a little, but we are back on the horse and trying to stick our authority back in the competition after a few weeks of being below par.
“The boys are definitely starting to gel, and guys who have come in from injury or from other clubs have stepped up. Boys like Mike Cusack and Mike Delany played well down at Exeter, and although we were defending for a lot of the time we took our chances when they came. Even without the result, the confidence was there.
“Training has been good this week, and we have built well.”
Facing a Bath side in the bottom half of the table, the tight-head added: “It is a strange old season.
“There is not much of a difference with their pack to what it was last season, but things don’t seem to be going their way. The challenge is there for us to go and take this opportunity, but it will be a big test down at The Rec with the crowd they have down there.”
Bath were beaten in their last outing a week ago at Harlequins, a game in which they rallied after finding themselves up against the early momentum.
Vea said: “What they showed is that when they do turn up, they can play rugby and put points on the board. They did that in the final quarter at Quins and they could have won that game.
“That is the Bath that everyone knows and everyone expects, so it is down to us to take notice of what Harlequins did during the early part of that game in starving them of the ball and keeping them away from their half.
“Taking that on another step, the game showed we can’t give Bath anything, even a short spell, because they can make it count on the scoreboard.
“Bath have a big pack and that is always going to be hard to come up against. They have some big barriers and ball-players in the backs, too, and it is a big one from that perspective.”