NEWCASTLE Falcons hope to have locks James Hudson and Carlo del Fava back in full swing “before Christmas” – with Micky Ward keen to see their return tidy up what has recently been a “messy” scrum.
Though former captain Hudson had a brief run-out as a late replacement in last week’s British and Irish Cup win at Newport, both he and Italian international del Fava have been out with hand injuries.
Head coach Peter Russell is confident del Fava will follow his team-mate back into contention in time for Sunday week’s Championship home clash with London Scottish.
Ward believes their involvement can only help the Falcons – who first host Newport in the B and I Cup on Sunday – return to their early-season scrummaging form.
Russell said: “We are pretty pleased injury-wise, actually.
“We are getting quite a few of what I suppose are our long-term injured players back, James Hudson and Carlo del Fava.
“Those guys are due back over the next two weeks, we hope to see them before Christmas and having them back adds a bit of steeliness to the side.
“They haven’t been training with us out on the paddock and that experience does help the younger guys.
“Anything the young guys can pick up in training, they can put it out onto the pitch on a matchday.” The return of both Hudson and del Fava should enhance the Falcons’ pack and scrum coach Ward added: “We’ve been pretty pleased. The last two weeks have not probably been at the level we would like, especially from a scrummage point of view.
“We haven’t quite seen the levels we saw in the early part of the season, but there are guys coming back from injury and there are guys who have had exposure to high-level rugby.
“They’re only going to learn from that and get better.
“Last week, we were a little bit messy in certain areas but they (Newport) were a dogged side we were up against.
“They’re weren’t going to roll over. People roll their sleeves up and fire into you. That’s what we have to be prepared for.”