SIX Scottish players are included in the Newcastle Falcons squad for tonight’s final of the British and Irish Cup against Leinster at Kingston Park in what could provide a confidence-lifting boost for the north east England club ahead of their bid to return to the Premiership.
Former Scotland captain Rory Lawson is at scrum-half and the other Scot among the backs is Jamie Sole, the son of the 1990 Grand Slam skipper David Sole. In the forwards Eyemouth-born, England age-grade international, Scott Wilson is joined by lock Sean Tomes, the son of another Grand Slam hero, Alan Tomes, who shared in Scotland’s 1984 success. The two other Scots in the Falcons squad are the former Scotland and Hawick lock Scott MacLeod and wing Michael Tait, whose father Alan played in Scotland’s 1999 Five Nations championship win. Both are on the bench.
The Falcons reached tonight’s final after achieving a clean sweep in Pool 4 games before defeating Nottingham in the quarter-finals and then Bedford Blues in the penultimate round. But Newcastle coach Dean Richards knows that, even although his side will face what is billed as a Leinster A team, it will be a very tough match.
“Leinster are brought through in an environment which demands success and, having watched a few of their games, they have got quality throughout, and their core skills are very good,” said Richards.
Leinster A, who have lost just once in this year’s competition, are captained by experienced back row Jordi Murphy and contain a strong half-back pairing in Cathal Marsh and Luke McGrath.