Newcastle Falcons duo Will Welch and Jimmy Gopperth have spoken to Falcons TV ahead of Thursday’s RFU Championship play-off final first leg clash at Bedford Blues (kick-off 7.45pm).
The figureheads of the team were on media duty on Tuesday as the club gears up for the final push for promotion back to the Aviva Premiership.
And after edging past Leeds Carnegie with a 34-30 aggregate victory in the semi-final, skipper Welch told Falcons TV that he does not want to be playing catch up in the return leg with Bedford.
“It would be nice to have a lead to take home ahead of the second leg as it wasn’t a good experience to have to make up five points against Leeds in the return leg of the semi-final,” said Welch.
“It was backs against the wall that day, but I think we have learnt from that afternoon, and we intend to go down there and put in a professional performance,” he added.
The Falcons travel to Bedford for what will be the fourth meeting between the two sides this campaign with the northeasterners triumphing on all three previous occasions in the league and cup.
Despite a hat-trick of wins over their Bedfordshire counterparts, each contest has been close with Welch expecting another blood and thunder battle this week.
“They are a great side and they have a threat across the park, especially with the way they like to play,” said the former RGS pupil.
He added: “They have a good record at home, and they nearly beat us here in Newcastle this year, and deserved to beat us on the night.
“It is going to be a pretty highly contested game, but hopefully we can get the win on the day.”
With just two games left to define Newcastle’s season, Kiwi fly-half Gopperth is desperate to see his side home prior to his switch to newly-crowned Amlin Challenge Cup champions Leinster.
Gopperth said: “We have just got to take confidence from the three results that we have had against Bedford already this season, and we need to look to perform at our best if anything.
“If we get the performance right, then the result will take care of itself.
“For me the semi-final is always the hardest game because of the fact that you want to get to the final so bad.
“As a result you can become tenser, and it showed against Leeds especially in the first game against Leeds at Headingley.
“We got tense and didn’t stick to our game plan, but now we are here and we can relax and enjoy the final – that is when we play our best rugby.”
You can watch the full interview with Welch and Gopperth on Falcons TV by clicking here.
Tickets for the second leg at Kingston Park are available by calling the Falcons Ticket Hotline on 0871 226 6060 or click here to purchase online.