Friday 17 August 2012 – 8.00pm
Kingston Park, Newcastle
The Falcons’ win over Edinburgh last night ended the home pre-season in fine style and suggests we may well have something to work with this year.
It may have only been a friendly but we outplayed the Heineken Cup semi-finalists and barely gave then a sniff of the tryline.
It wasn’t Dean Richards’ first game in charge but from his lofty perch in the West Stand the new gaffer will have been pleased with most of what he saw, along with the majority of the crowd.
It was the first time I and no doubt some others had seen a few of the new signings and I was particularly impressed with Scott MacLeod. Already popular on the terraces, the Scot impressed in the lineout and with some enthusiastic work around the field.
I didn’t notice Oliver Tomaszczyk too much but not every scrum can drive several metres forward and since it was generally solid he most likely did OK.
Tulip looks aggressive on his return and he made several good breaks through the Edinburgh defence, taking men with him and making several metres on most occasions.
His centre partner Alex Crockett seems to be a big bloke, and his running style at kick-off was more that of a prop. Didn’t see too much from him last night so we’ll have too see what happens.
I didn’t notice Carlo del Fava or Chris York much either.
Wesley Luvey (even I’m not taking on his name just yet) seems a lively player despite being built like Tai, and looks creative but maybe a target for attackers as was said after last week’s games.
Obviously our big-name signing this summer is Rory Lawson and on his short second-half debut the Scot moved the ball quickly and used the box kick effectively, both things we have struggled with in recent years.
Frankly, as you might expect from an experienced international, Lawson already looks on a different level to some of the scrum-halves we’ve become used to.
Overall, it was a strong showing against a club that is in a different league to us, metaphorically as well as legally and geographically. Bar their early penalty and a short spell near the end of the first half, Edinburgh rarely has serious ball in our half.
More important battles lie ahead but it seems from the pre-season so far that things are looking up, and it’s not often in recent years we’ve been able to say that in August.
Two weeks from tomorrow the league season finally starts – bring on Bristol!
(Follow The South Stand Choir on Twitter: @SouthStandChoir)