Roger Uttley: Newcastle Falcons need to be accountable to fans

Former England captain says Newcastle Falcons owe their supporters maximum effort when Premiership leaders Saracens visit

David Jones/Getty Images Will Welch of Newcastle Falcons is tackled by Nic Rouse of London Irish
Will Welch of Newcastle Falcons is tackled by Nic Rouse of London Irish

Any successful team depends on every individual pulling their weight and accepting their own responsibility.

That is the hallmark of all top teams, and if Newcastle Falcons want to be successful they have got to give their best at all times.

Nobody can blame anyone if guys give their maximum, but leaving stuff in the tank at this stage of a Premiership relegation battle is just not on.

That seemed to be the insinuation in some of the comments accompanying last weekend’s 40-12 defeat at London Irish, and the players are ultimately the losers because it is self-defeating in terms of their own reputation.

With Worcester getting a pair of bonus points the gap is down to seven points with three games to go.

That might provide a little light at the end of a very long and dark tunnel for the Warriors, and it would be a pity for the Falcons now if they were to let it slip at the 11th hour.

What any club and any supporter wants to see is guys giving everything for the club, and in doing so they can only enhance their own reputation and marketability.

Home to Saracens on Sunday is a challenge the Falcons have got to man up to, and they cannot just go out onto the pitch and fall over.

I want to see guys fighting for the cause, and the only way Saracens become invincible is if you allow yourself to think they are invincible.

Newcastle have just got to go out and tackle their socks off, and not allow them to offload. It becomes an attitude of mind, and the guys in the side who are doing their bit need to be supported by the others.

It is amazing what a bit of focused effort can do, and what is past is past.

Saracens are competent ball-players and recognise that possession is paramount.

Once you have the ball you secure it, and don’t allow the opposition to dictate.

They play in the right areas and are technically sound in all aspects of the game, so if you let them settle into it you are always going to be back-pedalling.

From there you can’t create any momentum, you are made to throw bodies in and they ruthlessly exploit that situation.

Newcastle will, of course, know all of this, and from a supporters’ point of view you just want to see guys playing for the shirt and the fans.

Falcons fans are paying a lot of money to go and watch their team, and there is a responsibility on the players to recognise that. In my own playing days before people got paid you were playing simply for personal pride, and when I went out on to the field I wanted to be better than the man opposite me.

I wanted to be part of a team that was better than the team against us and, if we weren’t, then I wanted to be part of a team that gave the best possible account of ourselves.

It is as simple and as basic as that, and any player who wants to be the best has got to have a positive attitude.

If people are stepping away from tackles or easing off in contact, the players in the four walls of that changing room know exactly who it is, and every one of those people will have to deliver their best performance against Saracens to have any chance of causing an upset.

They need to make Saracens scrap for every single point, and put in the kind of performance that will have people saying in 10 years’ time ‘do you remember that game when...’


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