Welsh backs crowd to fuel Falcons against Wasps

Thursday 29 December 2016

Prop Jon Welsh says a noisy Kingston Park crowd can provide the soundtrack for victory on Friday night when Wasps provide the Aviva Premiership opposition.

Tickets for the 7.45pm kick-off have been selling quickly, with the Falcons potentially topping the season-high crowd of 8,061 from the visit of Exeter Chiefs back in November.

And Welsh believes a vocal home support can play a key role for a Newcastle side who, at the half-way stage, have already won the same number of league games they did over the whole of last season.

The Scotsman said: “The club and our home crowd has grown massively. This only my second year here and the changes that I have seen within the whole organisation are quite remarkable, really.

“It has kept building, and the only way we can reward the fans is by winning. When you run out there you can hear them, and it does make a difference. We always talk about paying back the fans with victories, and that will keep them coming back for more.

“It always does surprise me how many people turn out for our games, and it is absolutely massive for us. The guys in the team want to run out in front of as big a crowd as possible, and the best way we can repay them is through our results.”

Citing on-field as well as off-field gains, the Pro 12 title winner said: “I was just having a chat with one of our coaches about how much we have improved since we played Wasps down at the Ricoh earlier in the season.

“Our organisation and structure has definitely improved, and the way we gel together as a team. Down there we had a crack at Wasps, and it was in the last 10 minutes where they really pulled away. I don’t think the score reflected the game, and from where we were this time last year there has been a massive improvement. We know we need to put the work in during the week but we are confident whenever we go out on the field.”

Welsh was part of the Falcons side which gave European and English champions Saracens a scare on Christmas Eve, eventually succumbing to a 21-6 defeat at Allianz Park after applying a huge amount of pressure on the league leaders.

“Saracens away was a massive team performance, we did well in the set piece and we were all disappointed to have come away with no points,” said the 30-year-old, whose 11 Scotland caps include a pair of Rugby World Cup games at Newcastle’s St James’ Park last year.

“Playing the European and Premiership champions away from home was always going to be difficult but we were really up for it, and threw pretty much everything at them. Saracens are a quality side, but it was a tough pill to swallow. We were dominant in the driving maul in particular, and should probably have been awarded a penalty try or had one of their guys carded for collapsing the maul. That’s the way the game goes, but it was a good performance and we’re looking to build on it for Wasps.

“The beauty of the Aviva Premiership is that every week you’re playing against a massive team, and clubs with huge quality and history. There are no easy weeks in this league.

“Saracens are known for their big pack and a set-piece game, whereas Wasps are more known for their electric back line. If you watched their game last week against Bath you could see how good they were, and the challenge for us is to impose our own game plan onto them.

“It is about applying pressure, especially on these teams at the top of the league. That’s exactly what we did at Saracens and we are wanting to do the same each week. If we can get some points early on because of that pressure, then all the better.

“There is no fear factor. Every game we go into, we are looking to win. There is no damage limitation or anything in our approach - we are going into execute our plays and to get the win.”

Tickets for Friday’s game are available by calling 0871 226 6060, by clicking here or from Kingston Park Stadium in person.

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