Rugby Union: Newcastle aware of size of task

THE NEWCASTLE director of rugby, Rob Andrew, has admitted that it will be a difficult proposition for his team to achieve a big margin of victory against Saracens today in order to qualify for Europe.

Andrew's team must recover from their Tetley's Bitter Cup final defeat by Wasps and beat Saracens by 30 points to claim a lucrative European Cup place. "Just beating Saracens at Watford will be an achievement," Andrew said. "We will simply aim for a win and see if we are ever in a position to give it a blast."

Newcastle suffered three setbacks last Saturday. They lost the final, had their try-scorer Va'aiga Tuigamala injured and then learned that Bath, their rivals for the European slot, had scored 76 points against London Scottish. That scoreline by Bath made all the difference.

"We thought that Bath would win by up to 40 points. But we never thought they would pile up so many and make our very difficult task near impossible. But mentally the boys have picked themselves up since having League and Cup ambitions damaged," said Andrew.

Tuigamala is unlikely to participate. "I popped my shoulder and I've got to be very doubtful," said Tuigamala.

Saracens, after losing out to Newcastle last season in the push for the title, owe Newcastle no favours, but do not intend to lie down. Their director of rugby, Mark Evans, said: "The integrity of the League demands that we play full out."

Rotherham will be attempting to join the elite this weekend as they play Bedford in the first leg of their Allied Dunbar Premiership play-off at Clifton Lane, with the return at Goldington Road on Sunday.

Rotherham will be aiming to succeed where they failed last year against London Irish and this time insist that they are better prepared. "Last year we didn't truly believe we could win, but this time we do," said Rotherham's captain Mike Schmid. "A year ago we finished fourth in the Second Division and were playing the 11th-placed side from Division One, now it's second against 13th."

Schmid might also add that Rotherham finished level on points with the Second Division champions, Bristol, after winning their last 17 matches and that Bedford were so worried about the play-off that they rested their entire first team for their final Premiership One fixture against Richmond last Sunday. "It was against my principles but what can you do when there is so much at stake?" asked Rudi Straeuli, Bedford's director of rugby. "It's the difference between the elite and semi-professional status."

Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
TV
Life and Style
Apple showed no sign of losing its talent for product launches with the new, slightly larger iPhone 6 making headlines
techSecurity breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
News
The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
peopleDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
tvReview: Top Gear team flee Patagonia as Christmas special reaches its climax in the style of Butch and Sundance
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Manager

£32000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Manager is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Panel & Cabinet Wireman

£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Panel Wireman required for small electro...

Recruitment Genius: Electronics Test Engineer

£25000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An SME based in East Cheshire, ...

Day In a Page

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?