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Walder insists ignominy of finishing bottom will keep Falcons fighting

By Chris Jones
Jamie Blamire of Newcastle Falcons looks dejected after the Gallagher Premiership match between Newcastle Falcons and London Irish at Kingston Park, Newcastle on Sunday 5th March 2023. (Photo by Chris Lishman/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Newcastle Falcons boss Dave Walder believes the ignominy of finishing bottom of the Premiership – despite the absence of relegation – will ensure his players continue to battle for vital points starting with the long trip to Exeter Chiefs.


While the players are flying to Exeter, Walder is making the 740-mile round trip by car following a second operation to deal with a cyst on the right leg that brought him more than 1,000 Premiership points for Newcastle and Wasps.

Bringing points back from Exeter, who are chasing a playoff place, would help ease his pain with Falcons just one point ahead of bottom-placed Bath who are at Northampton this evening. Newcastle face an Exeter team looking for revenge after going down 24-21 to the Falcons at Kingston Park in November.

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Walder said: “Finishing bottom is demoralising and we are not talking about it. We have to focus on getting as many wins as possible before the end of the season.

“Even without relegation, I have said from the start of the season that no one wants to finish bottom. Your competitive nature means you want to finish as high as possible and ultimately we have to worry about our processes to give us the chance to win our games. The players are flying to Exeter and I will be in the Land Rover after my operation with our physio driving. I had the cyst removed once and the surgeon is going back in for a second go. It is my kicking leg but I don’t think I will have to be on crutches at Exeter.”

Meanwhile, in an unusual preparation for the finale of the season, Falcons players have been getting lessons in ballet from professional dancers in a bid to help them avoid injury.

The Birmingham Royal Ballet are in Sunderland with a production of Swan Lake and Falcons full-back Tom Penny told ITV Tyne Tees: “It was good, learning some new stretches and seeing what they get up to. They were telling us they warm up to a total of thousands of warm ups in their career.”



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