Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 30 September 2014

Stephenson plots Falcons downfall

Michael Stephenson

Michael Stephenson will return to one of his former clubs on Saturday aiming to play a key part in plotting their Aviva Premiership demise.

Full-back Stephenson and his Leeds Carnegie team-mates visit Newcastle in arguably the biggest game so far of the current Premiership campaign. Victory for Leeds would see them climb off the basement and relegate Newcastle to bottom spot with games running out to avoid the drop.

"I know how much hard work has gone in down the years at Newcastle to build the club up," said Stephenson. "So many talented players from the area have come through the system but have then moved away, and it is sad to see the Falcons down near the bottom of the table."

He added: "It is a similar situation to us at Leeds. We have got some fantastic players, but for whatever reason we struggled at the start of the season.

"We have put ourselves in a position to move off the bottom of the table on Saturday, and we need to make sure we take our opportunities.

"I am sure there will be some nerves in both dressing rooms. Everyone is aware of the consequences for this game, but I think that can bring the best out in you.

"We have to treat the game as a normal match and try to continue the good work we have done in our recent games against London Irish, Sale and Exeter."

Leeds have won two of their last three league fixtures, which represents considerably improved form since Newcastle beat them 22-5 in Yorkshire six weeks ago.

Stephenson added: "We seem to have found our stride now. We are creating chances, but most importantly, we are finishing them off.

"I expect this game to be very tight, and our discipline will need to be at its very best."

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