NEWCASTLE Falcons insist they are ready to host Lyon in Saturday’s Amlin Challenge Cup opener despite the French club being hit by mumps.
Lyon’s last two league games have been cancelled because of the outbreak, with last Saturday’s home tie against Montpellier and the previous weekend’s trip to Begles-Bordeaux both being scrapped on health grounds.
Newcastle have already sought medical advice over the issue, with head coach Alan Tait saying: “It must be serious over there with the mumps, but we definitely want the game on.
“Our team doctors have said that as long as we are jabbed up from when we were kids we will be OK, so everybody has been checking their records to see what, if anything, they need to do.
“There have been a few phone calls from players to parents asking what injections they had when they were babies, which is a bit unusual for a professional sportsman, but we are working closely with the medics and we don’t anticipate any problem.”
Tait intends to use the Amlin Challenge Cup as a means for delivering more game-time to some of his fringe figures, with Saturday’s home date followed up by a trip to Italian champions Petrarca Padova.
“It will be another chance for some of the guys to get a run-out, and that is important to keep them ticking over,” said the Scot.
“The likes of Will Chudley at scrum-half will be in line to get some game time, and presuming the match does go ahead I will be looking to get a few more of the lads out there.”
As well as their mumps outbreak, Saturday’s visitors from Lyon could well be forgiven for having other things on their mind at the moment. Newly-promoted from France’s second tier in the summer, their 10 league games so far have yielded only two victories as they sit second-bottom above Biarritz.