Charlton backs Newcastle Falcons to fire

Newcastle scrum half Hall Charlton has backed his side to cash in on a quickfire hat-trick of matches, as the Falcons start their Guinness Premiership triple-header at Saracens on Sunday.

With Gloucester at home the following Wednesday and Harlequins away three days later, the 30-year-old believes his team has what it takes to kickstart an ascent up the table.

“It’s never easy playing three games in the same week, but we’ve done it pretty much every year I’ve been at the club,” said Charlton, who has made 194 competitive appearances in his 12 seasons at Kingston Park.

“There’s nothing we can do about it, and it’s just one of those things with the Gloucester game getting rearranged for a Wednesday night. To be honest it’s more one for the coaches to worry about, because as players all we have to do is go out there and play when we’re told to. It’s the old cliche of taking one game at a time though at the moment, because we have Saracens away on Sunday and none of us are looking past that challenge.”

With the Falcons at ninth in the table with six rounds to go, Charlton said: “A lot of pundits, fans and whatever are talking about relegation, but if you look at the league then there is a whole half of the table which isn’t safe yet from the drop.

“I’ve never known it like that in all my time as a player, because normally it’s just one or two teams slugging it out at the bottom. It’s not even worth thinking about to be honest, and from my experience down the years the best way to approach this kind of thing is just to concentrate totally on your own performance and your team winning games.

“There’s potentially 24 league points still on offer to us before we even start to think about bonus points, which is virtually double what we’ve got already, so it’s a case of just going into every game with plenty of confidence believing we can win and push on for the top six.

“We’ve been down there a few times in previous years, and in much, much worse situations. I remember one year we were eight points adrift at the bottom of the league and we still survived. “

“Don’t get me wrong. Nobody is oblivious to where we are in the league, but there’s still so much rugby to be played between now and the end of the season that there’s nothing to be gained by worrying about it when we could be spending that time trying to win games.

“We always seem to find a bit of something from somewhere when we’re in a tight spot, and these next three games inside a week could well be the turning point in shooting us back up the league.”

Insisting his side goes to Saracens with a full tank, Charlton revealed: “We’ve had a good rest following the Bath game on March 7, the coaches gave the players a week off and I think what that does is just refresh everyone’s mind as well as the body.

“It’s good to switch off from rugby even if it’s only for a few days, and the boys have come back into training with plenty of energy and enthusiasm these past two weeks.

“We had an in-house full-contact game last Friday to keep our match sharpness up, which is exactly what we did last season before the Bristol game, and on that occasion it really seemed to spark our whole season. “

“We go down to Saracens with all guns blazing, we’ll throw everything at them and then we’ll go again on Wednesday versus Gloucester.”

Having pounced for the winning try in the Falcons v Falcons encounter, Charlton joked: “It was good to get over the line because I haven’t scored all season, but trust me to do it against my own team mates!”

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