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'Nobody outside of our group will be expecting us to get a result'

By Ian Cameron
Newcastle Falcons' Mike Brown (right center) and Bristol Bears Dan Thomas square up during the Gallagher Premiership match at Kingston Park, Newcastle upon Tyne. Picture date: Saturday October 16, 2021. (Photo by Richard Sellers/PA Images via Getty Images)

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Newcastle defence coach Nick Easter says he believes that the Falcons can derail Leicester Tigers’ seemingly unstoppable train in their New Year’s Day game at Welford Road.

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Steve Borthwick’s Tigers are yet to drop a game in this season’s Gallagher Premiership and Welford Road once again appears to be the fortress of old, but Easter believes Newcastle have what it takes to storm the battlements and return north with a victory.

“Nobody outside of our group will be expecting us to get a result, but I can assure you the expectation within the club is really strong that we can go down there and get the win,” said Easter. “Discipline will be a big focus for us. We’re away from home, and there’ll be a big Welford Road crowd in.

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“The physicality that Leicester bring – our boys have been watching that and will be absolutely buzzing at the opportunity of going down there in a cauldron of an atmosphere and getting into a proper battle.

“That’s what we love, and the characters that I’ve come to know here love working hard for each other and embracing that physical combat element of the sport. They know they’re representing the North East and Cumbria in terms of our patch, and it’s the perfect game for us to get back into it after three weeks without a match.

“We don’t want to be caught cold, because Leicester are an extremely intense and physical team. You don’t get to be top of the league and win ten out of ten without having that as your number one attribute, and Leicester have that.”

“Steve Borthwick will have been at Saracens when Brendan Venter came in and did a similar job more than 10 years ago, and it looks like the same foundation – strong pack, good kicking game and physical in defence.

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“Steve was obviously part of the England coaching set-up which lost the Rugby World Cup final to a pragmatic Springbok side, and it’s a very South African slant he’s put on things with the way they’re playing. They’ve obviously signed a few South African guys, too, and you’d have to say it’s worked for him.”

Mike Brown is set to make his 250th Gallagher Premiership appearance, becoming only the sixth player in history to cross the milestone.

NEWCASTLE FALCONS: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Mateo Carreras, 13 Matias Orlando, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 Adam Radwan, 10 Joel Hodgson, 9 Louis Schreuder; 1 Adam Brocklebank, 2 Charlie Maddison, 3 Trevor Davison, 4 Greg Peterson, 5 Sean Robinson, 6 Philip van der Walt, 7 Will Welch (captain), 8 Carl Fearns.

REPLACEMENTS: 16 Robbie Smith, 17 Kyle Cooper, 18 Mark Tampin, 19 Callum Chick, 20 Gary Graham, 21 Sam Stuart, 22 Brett Connon, 23 Tom Penny.

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