Gloucester Rugby boss Nigel Davies labels Newcastle Falcons favourites for Sunday's Premiership clash
NEWCASTLE Falcons are favourites to win Sunday’s Premiership clash at Kingston Park, believes Nigel Davies.
The Gloucester boss has warned his Cherry and Whites charges to underestimate the North East men at their peril.
Rugby director Davies knows full well Gloucester have not won in the league at Kingston Park since December 2007 – and believes that record makes Newcastle clear favourites on Sunday (kick-off 3pm).
Davies explained: “They are a well-drilled team and they will target this game for a victory, no doubt.
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“We would like to think we’re back on the horse now and can start going the way we want to.
“But they are a very difficult side to play against: if you get into a dogfight then anything can happen.
“They will look to build a lead and put pressure on us.
“It is their home fixture, and whatever people think about Gloucester and Newcastle, on previous form, that they are the favourites.
“If you look at our record up there, then they have a clear edge.
“Up there no doubt they will target certain home games, and quite clearly we’ll be one of them.
“We might think of ourselves as a side fighting for the top-four, and some might think of them as a team fighting to re-establish themselves in the Premiership.
“But if we go up there and view them as a side that’s going to be fighting relegation, then they will turn us over.
“We’ve got to get that preparation spot-on, in terms of mind-set when we’re working – but also handle how we approach the game.”
Ex-Newcastle skipper James Hudson is still battling his pectoral injury, but Davies hopes he will be fit for his Gloucester league debut against his former employers.
Late owner Tom Walkinshaw once chartered a plane for a Gloucester trip to Newcastle, to no avail.
Davies has told his players to forget the long journey for Sunday’s clash.
He added: “The schedule is fine, that’s one of the things I’ve spoken to the team about.
“We’ve accommodated time off in the week, but the weekend is a working shift.
“From the team run on Saturday morning to Sunday night, it’s all about work and that’s how we have to look at it.
“It’s taking the geography out of the equation: that has to be irrelevant.”