Falcons aim to Ward off Quins in LV= Cup

Newcastle prop Micky Ward has spoken of his anticipation this weekend, as he prepares to line up for Sunday’s Anglo Welsh LV= Cup visit of Harlequins at Kingston Park (kick-off 3pm).

The 30-year-old remains a cult hero after more than 250 appearances during his decade at the club, with the local lad insistent that the fire burns as brightly as ever.

“It’s another game isn’t it, and at the end of the day we just want to play rugby,” said Ward, when asked what significance that the LV= Cup holds in the context of the Falcons’ season.

“I’m not too fussed what competition it’s in because I just want to get out on the field as much as I can in a Falcons shirt, and every time I do I’m going to give my all for the club.”

Having trailed 8-6 at half-time last weekend at Worcester only to lose out 32-6, he admitted: “We felt as if we were pretty much spot-on in the first half, but after half-time we let it slip a little bit with a few sloppy tries from the driving maul.

“Even despite what happened last week I’m actually a fan of the maul, but if we’re honest with each other as players we’d have to admit that we didn’t deal with it well enough.

“We’ve been pulling it down quite effectively this season, which the first man is still allowed to do before other players join it, but the referee last weekend for some reason didn’t think we could.

“In fairness we’ve dealt pretty well with the maul all year because we have a strategy in place which we practice a lot, but when referees’ interpretations start to vary from what we’ve been told at the start of the season then it obviously makes things a bit more difficult.

“Not that I’m taking anything away from Worcester, they had a big pack out that day and they worked their tries really well, so there’s no case of sour grapes here at all.”

Turning the focus towards Sunday’s visit of Harlequins, who drew 17-17 at Kingston Park in league action back in September, Ward said: “You know what you get from Quins, because they’re always a physical side upfront with plenty of pace in the backs.

“They picked a strong side last week in drawing with the Scarlets, and no doubt they’ll be coming up here with all guns blazing. It will be a tough encounter, as it always is, but we’re definitely up for it.

“I think we should have won when we played back in September, to be honest, because we felt we did enough to take the points. It’s all about closing games out at this level though, and it just goes to show that if a team never gives up then they’re always in with a chance. The result speaks for itself, so we’ve just got to get on with it and work harder when we get in front in these games.”

As well as his playing talents Ward also revealed another string to his bow, saying: “You can’t play rugby forever, so you’ve got to have a bit of a look around.

“I’ve been coaching with Newcastle University as well as helping at my local club, Wallsend, and it’s something I’d like to get into a bit more when I eventually finish playing.

“You’ve got to get your experience from somewhere, and it’s a lot of fun because they’re all really good lads.

“The Uni lads haven’t invited me to any lectures just yet, but I’m hoping I might get one of those honourary degrees, which seems like the easiest way of doing it!”

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