Born and bred in the North East, Ruaridh Dawson is determined to bring home silverware for the club he’s grown up watching after helping Newcastle Falcons reach the Singha Premiership Rugby 7s Series Final.
Dawson has progressed through the academy ranks at Newcastle and was a key component as the Falcons won two of their three Group D games on Saturday.
The defeat, their first ever in the pool stages of the competition, came against Worcester Warriors but wins over Leicester Tigers and Sale Sharks were enough to see them top the group.
Newcastle will now face Ospreys in the quarter-finals at the Ricoh Arena, and Dawson is dreaming of Singha 7s glory after a special day in front of his home fans.
“It’s an awesome feeling walking out here, the vibe from the crowd, especially the 7s crowd today, they were absolutely buzzing,” he said.
“I loved the vibe they were giving us, it was like having an extra man out there on the field.
“We haven’t had the best of things as a club recently so we want to win some silverware, get it in our hands and have a bit of a celebration afterwards.
“It would be good for the young lads just coming in, but for me it would be nice to win some silverware for the club I’ve grown up watching.”
Sale, who lost to Falcons in the day’s opening game, also progressed and will face Cardiff Blues in the quarter final in Coventry.
After the disappointing start, Sharks scored an incredible nine tries in their second game against Leicester Tigers before putting Warriors to the sword with a 31-0 victory.
And Sharks' captain James Mitchell admitted the squad’s preparation in training had pulled them through, after transport issues severely restricted their preparation time in Newcastle.
“It was a tough coach journey, we had about 20 minutes to prepare, but having qualified for the Ricoh Arena next week it is something we’ll look forward to,” he said.
“During the week we got the 7s team together and did some video analysis, had a little look at last year to see how we can get better and it paid dividends today.
“It’s the first chance for some young lads to come out and play in an environment like this, it’s a good stepping stone for them.
“We went out with the mentality of ‘you don’t make mistakes on purpose, go out there and express yourself’, and I think that’s just what the lads did.”
Quarter Final 1 – Cardiff Blues v Sale Sharks
Quarter Final 2 – Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints
Quarter Final 3 – Harlequins v Wasps
Quarter Final 4 – Newcastle Falcons v Ospreys
Sale Sharks 12 (Rogerson, Odogwu)
Newcastle Falcons 31 (Hodgson, Orr, Catterick, Marshall, Temm)
Leicester Tigers 26 (Olowofela, Tuilagi, Reffell, Brown)
Worcester Warriors 24 (Ainslie, Adams 2, Taylor)
Leicester Tigers 7 (Kerr)
Sale Sharks 55 (Odogwu 4, Mitchell, Rogerson, Curry 2)
Newcastle Falcons 21 (Catterick, Marshall, Radwan)
Worcester Warriors 24 (Adams 3, Hill)
Sale Sharks 31 (Scott, Odogwu 3, Mitchell)
Worcester Warriors 0
Leicester Tigers 17 (Kerr, Hardwick, Yawayaya)
Newcastle Falcons 26 (Hodgson 2, Marshall, Temm)
Eight teams will play for the first silverware of the season in the Singha Premiership Rugby 7s Series Finals from 2pm at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry on Sunday 7 August. Click here for tickets.