Glasgow Warriors identify Newcastle Falcons threats - 'one of the fastest players I've seen'

If Glasgow Warriors’ away form has been a concern this season then at least they don’t have too far to travel in the last 16 of the Challenge Cup.

Results at the weekend mean Danny Wilson’s side face a trip to Tyneside to face Newcastle Falcons this Friday, with a quarter-final tie against either Lyon or Worcester the prize for the winners.

Dropping down from the Champions Cup after finishing ninth in their pool, Glasgow were always going to have to play away in the Challenge Cup and, Edinburgh aside, Newcastle is the shortest journey they could have made.

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The sides met in pre-season, with the Falcons winning 15-7 in a closely contested game at Scotstoun thanks to a last-gasp try from George Wacokecoke, their Fijian-born wing/centre.

Josh Mckay, left, and Ryan Wilson are full of laughs during a Glasgow Warriors training session at Scotstoun. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)

Wilson, the Glasgow coach, won’t read too much into that game. His chief concern is improving his team’s away form which has seen them win just two from eight on their travels this season.

“We respect how dangerous a side they can be, they have proved that several times,” Wilson said of Newcastle. “We have shown we are a bit patchy on the road so that’s definitely a challenge. We need to close out the latter stages of games better.”

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Glasgow’s last away game saw them squander a 28-15 lead over Cardiff Blues in a match they ended up losing 32-28. It was a bruising experience but the Warriors bounced back with a comprehensive 40-12 home win over Zebre.

Glasgow Warriors and Newcastle Falcons met in a pre-season game at Scotstoun, with Duncan Weir scoring a try for Glasgow. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)

Newcastle faced the Italian side in their final Challenge Cup pool match at the weekend and struggled to put them away, eventually winning 25-22 after Cameron Nordli-Kelemeti’s 80th minute try.

They had been far more impressive the previous weekend, thrashing a Worcester Warriors side containing Duhan van der Merwe and Rory Sutherland 45-10 at Sixways. It was a result that lifted them to 11th place in the 13-team Gallagher Premiership.

“They have some really dangerous players and they’ve had some big wins this season,” said Wilson. “In the Zebre game they maybe didn’t put the points on the board that they wanted to, but they managed to get the win and get the job done.

“They have some really dangerous outside backs. They have Mike Brown, if he’s fit and Adam Radwan, who is electric, one of the fastest players I’ve seen.

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“They have a decent pack with a couple of very strong hookers, One of whom [Jamie Blamire] is in the England set-up at the moment. They have a dangerous back row who are hard over the ball and jackal well.

“They have a decent team and they’ve won a few games in the Premiership, a tough league. At home I’m sure they’ll be very up for playing in front of their own crowd.”

Perhaps mindful of their patchy away form, Wilson sees Glasgow as underdogs for a tie in which victory would give them a huge lift ahead of their mini-tour of South Africa.

“Part of our journey is to go away from home and be more clinical and more ruthless,” said the coach. “I think we showed that at home against Zebre when we bounced back with a display of sticking to tasks and being ruthless. We need to now show that on the road.”

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