NEWCASTLE Falcons are hoping to fill their boots against depleted Aviva Premiership line-ups during the Rugby World Cup.
New Zealand plays host to the international showpiece throughout September and October, during which time the Falcons hope to maximise their chances as the league’s big-hitters kick off the new domestic campaign without their test match stars.
So far only prop-forward Euan Murray will be missing from the Newcastle ranks as he packs down for Scotland, while traditional giants like Leicester and Northampton could see absentees in double figures during the first six weeks of the new league season.
Falcons chairman Dave Thompson has already mapped out his wish list as the club look to improve on a campaign which saw them win just four of their 22 league games to stay afloat on points difference.
“Looking at next season, you have got 12 games where English internationals are not going to be available for the Aviva Premiership, starting with the World Cup,” said Thompson.
“You have the first six league games followed by two LV= Cup weekends, and they all fall during the World Cup because you would have to accept that England are likely to make the knock-out rounds.”
Thompson added: “That period is going to be the key to our season.
“In my mind you have got to plan for the fact that we will have six home games during the international periods, and we have got to win all six. That is your starting point, and from the six away games during the same period we have to set a target of winning something like three of those.
“When teams have full squads we have to win an additional three games minimum, and that would give us something in the region of 12 wins from the whole season.