NEWCASTLE Falcons will be working as usual this weekend despite suffering a second successive postponement.
Director of rugby Dean Richards has revealed he will bring his squad in for extra training after this evening’s scheduled home date with Cornish Pirates went the same way as last weekend’s trip to Cross Keys.
Richards said: “There was no weekend off for the players last time.
“They came in and trained, they got stuck into some good work and it will be the same once again this time round.
“With playing Cross Keys on February 1 now it means we will bring the boys in to train on Sunday. The work ethic here is good and the players are just getting on with it.”
Playing down the impact of repeated abandonments, the former England and Lions No 8 said: “Yeah, the guys are probably a little frustrated, but at the end of the day that is just life and they have to get on with it.
“We have all played the game for years and had weekends off because of the weather, and we all hope that it will rectify itself shortly, but there is not a great deal we can do about it and no point getting too upset about things outside of our control.”
Still able to train fully thanks to their synthetic field, Richards revealed: “We have been working on a bit of everything, to be honest.
“The beauty of having Druid Park means we have been able to pretty much train as normal on the synthetic surface there.
“That has included our teamwork, fitness and everything else that we would usually incorporate, so from a preparation point of view the disruption really has been minimal.”
With back-to-back postponements beginning to put a strain on the fixture list of a Falcons side still alive on league and cup fronts, the director of rugby insisted there was still sufficient slack in the calendar to absorb re-scheduled dates without too much inconvenience from a playing perspective.
“Every game now assumes a greater importance as the focus of our season heightens,” he said, with one eye on the promotion play-offs and the British and Irish Cup final in May.
“We do not want to defer games until later in the season, and while I do like to have continuity in terms of scheduling it is also beneficial within that to factor in a couple of free weekends to give the boys a rest.
“There are still a couple more spare weekends to pick up the slack if we suffer further postponements.
“Once those fill up we are then into the realm of playing midweek games which, while not ideal for anybody, is just something we will have to get on with.”
Talk of re-scheduling the Pirates game for the weekend of February 22-24 is yet to be confirmed, but whatever the eventual date Richards insists there will be plenty riding on it.
“It is a massively important game for both teams,” he said. “Cornish Pirates won’t be coming up here with the intention of doing anything else apart from giving it their all.
“The way the play-offs are structured means they are still very much in with a chance of making the top four, and, aside from anything else, if they can make it to the play-offs it means increased revenue from the extra game or games they will be able to stage.”
Realistic about the fact that thoughts of open, running rugby will have to wait until the grounds firm up, Richards added: “We will have to take a far more pragmatic approach to the game if the weather is as bad as it has been recently.
“That is part of rugby, though, and you just have to get on with these things when pitches or other circumstances dictate what you can and can’t do.”