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Newcastle Falcons ready to embrace the Singha 7s pressure

Coach Mark Laycock says his Newcastle Falcons squad are ready to embrace the pressure of being home favourites at Saturday’s Singha Premiership Rugby 7s.

The shortened format of the game comes to Kingston Park Stadium from 3pm, when Newcastle will meet Sale Sharks, Worcester Warriors and Leicester Tigers in round-robin action, the top two teams on the day progressing to the finals at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena on Sunday August 7.
 
Having won their home tournament on every occasion they have hosted it, Laycock said: “In a sense we have created pressure for ourselves by having such a successful run in our qualifying competitions, but I see that as a good thing.
 
“The players should be driven by the fact there is a lot of expectation on them, they should embrace that pressure and see it is a privilege that people think so highly of them based on their past exploits. That said, it is all about who does what on the day, and we have to show that we are worthy of the billing people are giving us.”
 
With Newcastle Falcons’ Marcus Watson currently in Brazil ahead of rugby sevens’ Olympic debut next month Laycock believes there is no better time for people to come and sample the thrills and spills of the abbreviated code.
 
“Sevens is a really exciting version of the game and a fantastic way for non-rugby followers to maybe dip into the sport for the first time,” he said, with games 14 minutes in length and played on a full-size pitch," he said.
 
“With the Olympic 7s coming up shortly the timing is fantastic for people to take a look at it, and they should be won over by the amount of tries, the speed of the game and fact it is shorter and snappier than 15s. It is a fun atmosphere in the stadium, you get six games in one afternoon and you are seeing some of the top young players in the country.”
 
The Falcons won the Premiership 7s title for the only time in their history back in 2011 but have a proud record in the format, having also lifted the Middlesex 7s and Melrose 7s titles in the past decade.
 
Naming a strong squad for Saturday’s home showcase, Laycock said: “We have got a bit of sevens experience in there from guys who have played for us in the past. They will offer us some leadership but overall we are happy with the blend.
 
“Last year we brought in a lot of lads from the Scotland 7s squad. That was probably more of a one-off rather than a major change in club policy, simply because of fixture congestion and the fact we had so many injuries at the time, so we were unable to field many of our contracted players. We felt we had to look elsewhere to strengthen the squad but this year we are in a slightly different position whereby we can field a group predominantly of our own full-time players.
 
“We have a lot of play-makers in the squad and some good athletic, ball-handling forwards. We have to use that to our advantage, and with guys like Joel Hodgson, Ruaridh Dawson and Tom Catterick in those play-making roles we can hopefully create space and exploit it.”
 
Tickets are available by calling 0871 226 6060 and from the stadium on the day.
 
Newcastle Falcons squad for Singha 7s:

1 Dan Temm (captain)
2 Santiago Socino
3 Glen Young
4 Max Davies
5 Harrison Orr
6 Adam Radwan
7 Dan Marshall
8 Tom Catterick
9 Ruaridh Dawson
10 Joel Hodgson
11 Ben Stevenson
12 Tom Ffitch
 
Leicester Tigers:
1 Sam Lewis
2 Harry Mahoney
3 Charlton Kerr
4 Harry Simmons
5 Ben White (captain)
6 Sam Yawayawa
7 Jordan Olowofela
8 Freddie Tuilagi
9 Tommy Reffell
10 Tom Hardwick
11 Ollie Russell
12 Andy Brown
 
Sale Sharks:

1 Tom Curry
2 Ben Curry
3 Matt Postlethwaite
4 Andy Hughes
5 George Nott
6 James Mitchell (captain)
7 Curtis Langdon
8 Sam Bedlow
9 Paolo Odogwu
10 Nick Scott
11 Tom Morton
12 Charlie Venables
 
Worcester Warriors:
1 Tom Dodd
2 Jaike Carter
3 Sam Ripper-Smith
4 Huw Taylor (captain)
5 Ted Hill
6 Ben Fowles
7 Josh Adams
8 Tiff Eden
9 Harry Cochrane
10 Dion King
11 Jordan Ainslie
12 Craig Jackson
 
Kick-off times:

15:00 Newcastle Falcons v Sale Sharks
15:25 Leicester Tigers v Worcester Warriors
15:55 Leicester Tigers v Sale Sharks
16:20 Newcastle Falcons v Worcester Warriors
16:50 Sale Sharks v Worcester Warriors
17:15 Newcastle Falcons v Leicester Tigers
 
Referees:
Matt Turvey
Ben Blain
Hamish Smales
 
Assistant referees:

Adam Leal
James Clarke
Jamie Leahy
Callum Sharp
Anthony Woodthorpe
Veryan Boscawen

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