Falcons scrum half under no Italian job illusions

Newcastle Falcons scrum half Micky Young knows that only Petrarca Padova now stand between his Newcastle side and an Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-final place.

Victory against the Italians would guarantee the Falcons progression through to the last eight, whilst a four-try bonus point would also assure home advantage in their quarter-final clash.

With last Friday’s 16-14 victory at French side Albi having set up the do-or-die finish to the group stages, Young said: “The objective was to win the game, and that’s what we did.

“But we’re under no illusions that it’s job done, we still have Petrarca to play on Friday and they showed over in Italy earlier this season that they’re a decent side capable of pushing us to the limit.

“We’re a bit disappointed that we didn’t finish things off the way we should have done last Friday in Albi, having created so many scoring opportunities throughout the game.

“We got the result, that was the important thing, but there is still plenty left for us to work on this week in training.”

Having scored the crucial try which gave the Falcons a 29-27 bonus point victory when Newcastle met Petrarca in Padova back in October, Young recalled: “It was a difficult game out in Italy, mainly because of the conditions.

“When we arrived at the ground it was bright sunshine, but by kick-off it was a full-on thunderstorm and the pitch was virtually underwater. That made the game a bit of a lottery, to be honest, but we stuck at it and came out with the bonus point win in the end.”

Insisting his side has guarded against complacency ahead of the return leg, the 21-year-old added: “There’s no danger of that at all, because the game out in Italy showed us what a capable side Petrarca are.

“People on the outside might be saying it’s a formality or whatever this Friday, but that’s not the way we’re approaching it because we know we have to give them maximum respect.

“Putting in a big performance for our home fans is a big motivation for us, especially after the disappointment of losing here to Leeds just after Christmas.

“Our supporters have got behind us on the road and it was nice to see so many of them over at Albi last weekend, but we really want to reward our home fans because our form at Kingston Park hasn’t been as good as our away record these past couple of months.”

Asked about the potential of hosting one of the Heineken Cup giants in the last eight, Young insisted: “From a players’ point of view it doesn’t bother me at all who we get in the quarter-finals, presuming that obviously we get the job done and secure our qualification.

“It will just be another team and another game to win regardless of who it is, but from a supporters’ perspective I can see how it would be exciting to get one of the real Heineken Cup big boys here at Kingston Park.”

With the Hartlepool-born half back having excelled on the club stage, Young was at pains to credit his team mates for his own inclusion in the England Saxons squad this year.

“I’m really pleased to be involved again with the Saxons, and I feel as if I’m the beneficiary of a lot of good work from our forwards,” he said.

“The way our pack is playing this season is basically making me look good, those guys are providing the platform and it’s largely down to them that my name is out there in terms of Saxons recognition.

“Having said that, my focus is totally on the Falcons at the moment and I’m not looking beyond the Petrarca game on Friday.”

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