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Preview: Newcastle Falcons v Northampton Saints

Preview: Newcastle Falcons v Northampton Saints

In recent weeks Newcastle Falcons have become experts in stifling their opponents’ creativity but James Wilson is not about to stand on his wing and watch the game pass him by on Sunday.

Northampton Saints visit a rejuvenated Falcons side – in fact, you could argue there is no worse time to come across Dean Richards’ men.

Newcastle have only been beaten just once in their last seven outings at Kingston Park – by Aviva Premiership Rugby leaders Saracens – and they sent Leicester Tigers home without even a losing bonus point last weekend.

Their back row has played a pivotal role in that, with Will Welch recording a mammoth 18 tackles against Leicester while Nili Latu was named man of the match.

But utility back Wilson, who started on the wing as Northampton beat London Irish 35-7 last time out, believes Saints have done enough research to highlight the Falcons’ threats.

“It’s a good challenge for us,” he said. “They are playing very well and knocking off a few teams that they haven’t done over for a long time. Hopefully we won’t be one of them.

“They are attacking the breakdown really well and getting stuck into your first receivers. It’s something that we are focussing on this week.

“I have played a few positions over the last few seasons and I know one thing – you can’t just stand on your wing and wait for things to happen. Hopefully I can help the boys out as much as possible.”

While Newcastle have hit a purple patch of form, their record against Northampton does not make for inspiring reading.

The Saints, who have lost just one of their last five games, have tasted victory in each of their last 12 meetings with Newcastle in all competitions.

Indeed, the Falcons’ most recent win against Northampton came at Kingston Park in September 2008 and centre Adam Powell knows the scale of the challenge his side will face on Sunday.

“Northampton are a strong side with a big, strong pack and lots of backs who can break through,” said Powell. “We’ve played a few of the top teams recently so we know this game will be no different.

“I always enjoy playing Northampton, you know that you are going to have to step up and you have to defend well.

“We’ve got a bit of a run going at home at the moment so we want to carry that on and that means getting a win at home to Saints this week.”            

Kingston Park, 3pm

Referee: Wayne Barnes (164th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Luke Pearce & Andy Watson . TMO: David Sainsbury.

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