Newcastle targeting renewed 7s glory
August 3, 2014
Newcastle's Tom Catterick makes a break in his side's group D match against Leicester © Getty Images
Newcastle Falcons are convinced they can stage a repeat of their 2011 triumph when they travel to the Twickenham Stoop for the Premiership Rugby 7s Series final.
The Falcons had a perfect record as they emerged convincing winners from group D on Saturday. Under the watchful eye of coach Mark Laycock, they ran in 11 tries against Sale Sharks, London Welsh, and Leicester Tigers - who will also join them in Friday's final.
Laycock was in charge when the Falcons scooped the title at the Stoop three years ago and, while his current squad has a different make-up, he insists that a second title is not beyond his new recruits.
"I think the first game we were a little bit rusty, second game we played a lot better and the boys showed what they are capable of," Laycock said.
"Every squad is different - the key is making sure the group stick together and stay with each other to the death, and that's what we had in 2011. I fully believe this side is capable of going the whole way once again.
"This squad have got the making of this, we've never been blessed with a huge amount of speed so we have to adapt. Sometimes we're a little bit more physical, a little bit more direct, but ultimately we're playing up to the strengths of the lads."
The Falcons overcame Leicester in the opening game in Darlington, denting the Tigers' hopes of qualifying with a 26-21 victory. Geordan Murphy's side were left to thank speedster Dan Rundle, whose last-minute score against London Welsh ensured they were not eliminated early.
The Tigers then went on to defeat Sale and guarantee their spot at finals night, with Murphy admitting his players did better than he had expected.
"It's a bit of a surprise all in all to be quite honest. It's really good to qualify from the group we knew there were some quality sides out there," Murphy said.
"We heard London Welsh had been doing a lot of training, coming up here last night and training hard, and Sale are obviously a good team who beat us in some 7s last year.
"So we're delighted to get out of our group and that we've now got a chance in the Finals. We were very rusty and it was difficult to gel but we lost to Newcastle by four points and I thought the spirit the guys showed was amazing.
"We improved on that, improved on our defence a little bit. We got a bit lucky in our second game with a last-minute try but then we stepped it up again."
Newcastle and Leicester will be joined by Harlequins, Cardiff Blues, Gloucester, London Irish, Newport Gwent Dragons and Northampton Saints in the grand final on Friday.
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