Jamie Blamire scoring the crucial fourth try

Ward backs Falcons to build on Sale victory

Sunday 3 February 2019

Newcastle Falcons forwards coach Micky Ward says Sunday's 28-12 win at Sale Sharks can be the catalyst for a mid-season surge.

Jamie Blamire's late bonus-point try secured a Premiership Rugby Cup semi-final trip to Northampton Saints this coming Saturday, Ward saying: "From a morale point of view that was exactly what we needed.

"Reaching a semi-final is the main thing and we're chuffed about that, but in addition we've shown we can carry a good week's training into a game and get a result."

Ward, a two-time cup-winner with Newcastle in his playing days, added: "Performance-wise we were happy with some things, and not others.

"We left four or five tries out there which we should have taken, even though we scored some good ones, and it's just a case of needing that bit more consistency.

"It's only little tweaks and we're not that far away, it's just nice to get a win and to feel like we're making progress again. I think this result could be big in terms of the rest of our season."

Premiership Player of the Season Vereniki Goneva made an instant impact with a try less than a minute after coming on from the bench, Ward saluting his Fijian scoring machine.

"Niki is class, and we want him to get his hands on the ball as much as he possibly can," said the Falcons' all-time record appearance maker.

"We saw last season that things happen when he has the ball - his first touch today was a line-break and his second was a try, and he's devastating."

With replacement hooker Blamire securing a spot in the last four, Ward added: "We know how good Jamie is around the pitch, that speed and that step came as no surprise to us, but we've just got to make sure he keeps nailing his set-piece.

"I'm over the moon that he's had his opportunity and taken it, because we know what a talent he is."

Backing his side to build on the result, Ward said: "We had a break last week, we took stock of where we were and we've basically laid a foundation now for the rest of the season.

"It's one win in the cup so we're not going to go overboard, but we feel like we're in a good place and that we're starting to move forward again."

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