Match Preview | Newcastle Falcons
Knockout rugby takes centre stage for Glasgow Warriors this weekend, as Danny Wilson’s squad makes the trip to Kingston Park to take on Newcastle Falcons in the last-16 of the EPCR Challenge Cup.
The Warriors will be keen to make a statement after dropping into the tournament ahead of the knockout stages, having narrowly missed out on a place in the equivalent round of the Heineken Champions Cup.
A down week allowed the squad some downtime as they awaited their opponents for the clash, a late try from Cameron Nordli-Kelemeti against Zebre Parma eventually sealing the north-east of England as the destination for Wilson’s men.
With the Falcons enjoying a strong vein of recent form, however, the challenge ahead of the Warriors cannot be underestimated as the two teams gear up for a winner-takes-all clash for a place in the quarter-finals.
Here’s how the fixture is shaping up:
Whilst the Good Friday clash will be the first competitive meeting between the sides, the two teams are well-acquainted after going toe-to-toe in The Famous Grouse Pre-Season Challenge at Scotstoun prior to the 2021/22 campaign.
The first fixture played in front of the Warrior Nation at Scotstoun since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the returning figure of Duncan Weir gave the fans reason to be cheerful with the only points of the first half, finishing off a Johnny Matthews break to touch down under the posts.
However, second-half scores from Callum Chick and George Wacokecoke ultimately saw the Falcons emerge victorious, claiming a 12-7 victory over their hosts as both teams fine-tuned their setups for the season ahead.
Ones to watch
One of the most electric attackers in the English game, Adam Radwan’s ability to turn a match on it’s head has become a hallmark of Newcastle’s game in recent seasons. Blessed with lightning-quick acceleration and a wicked sidestep, the winger has scored a bucketful of tries at every level, including a hat-trick on his England debut against Canada last summer.
Having originally joined the Falcons while still a student at Northumbria University, 26-year-old Wacokecoke has been a quietly effective piece of the Newcastle midfield throughout his three years as a professional. A former England Students international, the centre provides both a dynamic ball-carrying option as well as a solid defensive presence to Dean Richards’ side.
For all of Newcastle’s quicksilver backs, the top try-scorer for both the club and English rugby this season can in fact be found in the Falcons front-row. George McGuigan’s tally of 13 tries is bettered by no other player in the Premiership in 2021/22, the hooker’s knack of being in the right place at the right time – both at the maul and in open play – a valuable asset for the Kingston Park outfit.
It’s not often that two World Cup winners rock up at Burnbrae, but that was exactly the case when Glasgow Warriors hosted Newcastle Falcons at the home of West of Scotland back in August 2006.
A Falcons squad captained by Australian legend Matt Burke and featuring England hero Jonny Wilkinson at fly-half arrived for one of three meetings between the two teams in the 2006/07 pre-season, with the Warriors captained for the first time by Al Kellock in the second-row.
Donnie Macfadyen’s short-range try proved decisive for the home side, as Glasgow edged a narrow affair to claim a 13-7 win over their visitors.
Tual Trainini will be the man in the middle in Newcastle on Friday night, the Frenchman having officiated Gloucester’s visit to the Dragons last weekend.
The 36-year-old recently became just the ninth Frenchman to referee in the United Rugby Championship, after taking charge of the Welsh derby between the Scarlets and Cardiff in Llanelli at the start of April.
How to watch
The match is not on TV this weekend, but supporters can stream the match live on epcrugby.tv for €4.99 (approximately £4).
You can also follow all the action as it happens from Newcastle on our Live Match Centre – head to glasgowwarriors.org from approximately 7pm for all the updates.