Jon Welsh insists he has been visualising tonight’s Aviva Premiership kick-off for the whole of pre-season as Newcastle Falcons begin their league campaign at home to Worcester Warriors.
The 7.45pm kick-off at Kingston Park Stadium sees the Falcons up against a side they beat 16-14 at the same venue last time they met, the Scottish prop saying: “As players you just look forward to the season starting.
“Our pre-season has been hard, but the tougher it is the more the team are going to benefit.
“I’ve been looking forward to this night for the whole of pre-season. We as players love the Friday nights, the atmosphere is brilliant and hopefully we can give our supporters a nice start to the weekend by winning the game. We’ve had three months of hard graft in pre-season, and this is what it has all been for.”
Prepared for another wave of new laws to kick in, Welsh said: “I’m sure most teams would have meetings where they get a top referee to come in and speak to them about the laws ahead of a new season, and that’s certainly what we did when we were in camp over the summer.
“You need that just to make sure everyone’s clear, and the guys seem to have adapted well to the changes. We have Wayne Barnes for this game and he is a good referee - the boys have a lot of faith in his consistency so it shouldn’t be a worry on that side.”
Aware he will face a sizeable challenge against a Warriors side coached by former Falcons boss Gary Gold, the former Pro 12 title winner added: “Every pack in this league offers a big, physical challenge, and Worcester in particular are renowned for their size in the front row.
“But that’s the challenge that you relish in the Aviva Premiership, we’re looking forward to it and we have a game plan which we need to execute.
“We’ve got an outstanding back line again this season and, as much as us front-row boys love to scrummage, there’s obviously a big emphasis on just making sure we deliver quality possession for the backs to attack with.
“We’ll be playing plenty of rugby, but we have to earn that right. It starts with the pack, getting on the front foot, and only then can you unleash your backs.”
Tickets for tonight’s 7.45pm kick-off are available by calling 0871 226 6060, clicking here or from the stadium in person.