Much has been made of Newcastle Falcons’ resurgence in recent weeks – and centre Chris Harris believes European silverware would prove his side are a force to be reckoned with.
The Falcons are in prime position to qualify for the knock-out stages after three wins from four in their European Rugby Challenge Cup pool, though this week’s fixture could go some way to deciding their destiny.
They welcome Newport Gwent Dragons to Kingston Park, with the Welsh region leading the pool by a single point despite Newcastle’s victory at Rodney Parade earlier in the competition.
But Dean Richards’ men have much to be confident about, with narrow defeats to 2014 Aviva Premiership Rugby finalists Saracens and Northampton Saints followed by a commanding victory over London Welsh.
Harris, dual-registered with Rotherham Titans, has not been far from the fray either – bagging three tries in his first three Aviva Premiership Rugby games, as well as notching two scores in Europe so far.
And the 24-year-old is confident of building on his own rich vein of form come Saturday.
“Europe is massive, we really want to win this year and I want to push on and hopefully get some silverware. We want to say ‘look, we’re a new Newcastle side and we’re here to perform’,” he said. “I don’t think we’ve been as far as the semi-finals since 2008.
“Europe is where I started to push on this season and I’ve scored a couple of tries, so it’s been brilliant for me and I’m relishing every opportunity I get.
“Confidence is really high around the club, as we’re playing a decent brand of rugby and we’ve got home advantage which will really help.
“There are things we need to keep improving on but during the last two or three weeks we’ve really hit some form – hopefully we’ll take the spoils.”
If their visit to Wales was anything to go by Kingston Park is in for a treat this weekend, as the Falcons clinched a 30-26 thriller over the Dragons.
Harris added: “The Dragons are a really physical team and when we went down there they had a lot of possession, coming around the corner with their big lads.
“They’ve got a really direct style and it’s one of those big cup games you love to be a part of. We’ve looked at that game and know we need to do this and that to get over the line.
“It was a really tight one in Wales but hopefully we can take one step into the knockouts.”
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