Newcastle head coach Dave Walder has claimed that the serious injury suffered by Jon Welsh at Mattioli Woods Welford Road nine days ago won’t be a motivation when the Falcons return to Leicester to take on the Tigers in this Saturday’s Challenge Cup quarter-final. 

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Prop Welsh was left with a dislocated shoulder following a bruising clear-out from Leicester’s Jasper Wiese during the 26-12 win by the hosts on March 28. The South African came in from the side at a ruck – according to Newcastle – to make the collision which resulted in Welsh requiring an operation.

The incident happened after Welsh had been involved in a pre-match verbal bust-up with England prop Ellis Genge, who is likely to be recalled to the Leicester team having been rested for the round of 16 home win last Saturday over Connacht.  

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There was apparently lingering anger within the Falcons camp that no action was taken at the time or subsequently against Wiese for the manner of his damaging collision with Welsh, but Walder has played down its significance ahead of a quarter-final that Newcastle qualified for with last Saturday’s win ay Ospreys.   

“There is always something in a game gone by where certain individuals have gripes but we haven’t talked about it,” insisted Walder. “This will be about us sticking to script and imposing ourselves in areas where we can get dominance.

“Leicester did their homework on Connacht and used the driving maul as a weapon and are probably the strongest mauling team in the Premiership at the moment. We conceded one against them when we played there a couple of weeks ago and if you want to give yourself a chance you have to match them up front.

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“They have got that physicality and forward-based game with nine and ten putting them in the right places on the pitch. Steve (Borthwick) has gone in there and made things simpler for them, and they have some very good players who are putting their hands up this season.

“George Ford is the best kicking fly-half in Europe and had a good day when we played them in the Premiership. There were areas where we let ourselves down in that game.”

Last weekend’s big news surrounding Newcastle was their signing for next season of former England full-back Mike Brown. Walder predicted the 35-year-old would be a real force in the north-east. “He is a very driven, skilful player who is still operating at the top of his game. He looks after his body and will make a huge impact on and off the pitch.”

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