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Falcons ready for survival scrap

Newcastle boss Gary Gold has braced his men for their "toughest challenge of the season" as the Falcons look to keep their Aviva Premiership survival hopes alive against Saracens.

Gold and his ex-England assistants John Wells and Mike Ford have worked wonders since their arrival at Kingston Park and the bottom club now sit just four points behind Wasps with two matches to play. If Newcastle can close that gap this weekend - Wasps tackle Bath - it will tee up their May 5 trip to Adams Park as a winner-takes-all relegation showdown.

"In the last few weeks we have been in a situation where every game has been a cup final and this week will be no different," said Gold, who has guided Newcastle to successive wins against Sale Sharks and Gloucester.

"Saracens will be right up for it as they are playing for a home semi-final and we are playing for Premiership survival.

"The type of style of rugby that they play is incredibly difficult to play against and each player knows exactly what they are doing.

"It has been a tough week in training as we have the Premiership champions coming to town on Friday night. They are very well-drilled and you do not reach two Premiership finals in a row by accident.

"They are incredibly well coached with a good bunch of guys down there - I would go as far as saying that this is our toughest challenge of the season to date, there is no question about that."