Back rower ready to go as European Rugby Challenge Cup kicks off
Mark Wilson is fit and raring to go after an enforced lay off and is hopeful of an involvement in the club’s opening match of the 2015/16 European Rugby Challenge Cup, away to CA Brive on Friday.
Number eight Wilson has been unavailable through injury since mid September and is eager to enter the fray for the club.
“I can’t wait to get out there, it’s been nine weeks now since I’ve been out so I’m looking forward to getting back out on the field with the boys and try and get a full 80 under my belt.”
Wilson was an integral part of the Falcons squad in season 2014/15, featuring in all but one of the club’s Aviva Premiership matches and playing a full 80 minutes in 16 of them and is hoping two weeks of European rugby can refresh the side ahead of a return of English rugby’s top tier.
“It’s been frustrating for everyone, but we’ve had a really good week so far and the Euro stuff is brilliant, it gives you a chance to get that excitement, energy and buzz back and hopefully just give everyone that bit of a lift.”
“It’s great for the boys who haven’t played that much to stake their claim for a first team spot and to keep the guys who are in the team at the minute on their toes.”
In a squad that blends experienced heads and youthful exuberance for a second consecutive season, Wilson is backing that balance to provide performances and results akin to those recorded over Stade Francais at Kingston Park and Newport Gwent Dragons at Rodney Parade.
“There are a few young lads in, but there are a few old ones as well so there is a bit of experience and it’s a real good mix, which it was last year. I just hope we come out with the energy and enthusiasm that we talked about to give a good challenge.”
Casting an eye to this weekend’s opposition, the Falcons are anticipating a big physical battle with a side that currently sits fifth in the Top 14 table.
“They have a really good scrum and they are doing well in the Top 14. They are a physical side that will take you on up front and we’ll need to match them in that area.”
Friday’s game at the Stade Amédée-Domenech kicks off at 19:30 local time, with the side due to be announced at Noon GMT on Thursday.