Newcastle Falcons fly-half Tom Catterick expects this weekend’s clash with Harlequins to be jam-packed with thrilling, end-to-end rugby, with both teams secure of their position in the Aviva Premiership Rugby table.
Dean Richards’ side have managed just one victory over the Londoners in their last ten Aviva Premiership Rugby meetings – 33-18 at Kingston Park in March 2011 – and have lost five of their last six games by less than a one-score margin.
But having racked up the points in recent weeks and with nothing to lose for either side, Catterick is confident the Kingston Park crowd is in for a treat.
“It’s a huge game this weekend,” said the 24-year-old. “We’ve played well in patches, scored a lot of tries and improved – but we still haven’t won a game for a while.
“So we’re really focusing on this week, and targeting finishing off the season on a high, and sending the boys who may be moving away from the club off with a bang.
“Neither side has anything to gain or lose apart from a little bit of pride, so it should be a really good game.
“You’d like to think both teams will go out to play a lot of flowing rugby, and both teams usually like to do that anyway.
“You look at how they played at Bath last week and how many points we scored in the last couple of games, and I think it should be a cracker.
“You want to put your all into it and then you’ve got five weeks off, and I imagine both teams will want to get some of the frustrations of recent weeks out so it could get quite feisty in parts.
“They have a very good back-three obviously, and then you’ve also got Danny Care there who is great around the breakdown, so we’ve got to be aware of that and we’ve had a close look at those areas this week.”
Meanwhile, Quins will make the journey north having missed out on a Aviva Premiership Rugby semi-final spot for the first time since 2011, and off the back of a disappointing one-point defeat to Bath Rugby last weekend.
But flanker Jack Clifford – fresh from his Land Rover Discovery of the year award nomination – is already looking ahead to next season and hopes a win over the Falcons will be the perfect launchpad.
He said: “It has been a frustrating season with not being where we want to be but we want to just go out and play how we played against Bath. We put in a really good attacking performance and played our style.
“It will be a good pitch, obviously, so it will be a quick game and hopefully a good attacking game with not much pressure on us.
“It is obviously a difficult trip to make all the way up to Newcastle, but it’s not as bad as Exeter Chiefs having to do it!
“We have got to go there and put a performance down. We want to use it as a stepping stone for next season.”
Kingston Park, 3.30pm
Referee: Tom Foley (6th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Steve Lee and Robin Goodliffe. TMO: David Sainsbury.
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