Walder calls for momentum maintenance in cups

Wednesday 11 January 2017

Falcons attack coach looks ahead to European Rugby Challenge Cup fixture away to FC Grenoble

Attack coach Dave Walder says maintaining momentum will be key to Newcastle Falcons advancing to the knockout stages of this season’s European Rugby Challenge Cup and is calling for his side to match the passion of Grenoble in Friday evening’s round five fixture.

The Falcons currently sit third in pool two, one point behind Lyon and also need the picture to change in other pools to seal one of the qualification spots for April’s quarter-finals, however, the club’s players and coaching panel are not allowing permutations to pose a distraction in the build-up.

Walder said: “We can’t worry about other teams in terms of qualifying. We can only look after what we are in control of and a win on Friday night against Grenoble, backed up the following week with a win against the Ospreys is what we can do and then see where that will take us.

“If that’s not enough, then that’s not enough, but hopefully if we can turn up on Friday with a good attacking performance and score some tries and take that into the following week then who knows.”

With 13 tries in their last three Aviva Premiership matches and 16 to date in Europe, the team are showing real potency in attack that Walder wants to continue over the next month of cup action.

“We’re starting to play some decent stuff in attack, although we probably still lack that ruthless edge that I’d hope we would develop. It’s coming thanks to a bit more confidence and accuracy on the part of the players, while we’ve been able to be fairly consistent with our selections and keep combinations working so people get to know each other.

“We’ll be looking to use the four-week block we’ll be trying to improve and become more efficient in certain areas, but I think it would be unfair to say that this block is just about looking further ahead. The focus is on turning up, scoring some tries and working hard to do what we can to get out of the group.

“There is a chance for those guys who are getting opportunities over the next three or four weeks to stake a claim to the shirt but to keep the momentum going and ride a bit on the crest of the wave we are creating.”

Travelling to the capital of the Alps, the Falcons will be facing a side smarting from a 50-7 loss in round two, Walder expects Grenoble to prove a tough opponent who will need to be met head on if the pool points are to come back to the north east.

“It’s going to be a tough game, any French team at home are going to come at you and the weather forecast for this weekend isn’t the best but we have to just match their passion. If you let them know you aren’t there to roll over, then you give yourself a good shot at winning the game.

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