Newcastle Falcons chief has predicted that performances will improve very shortly. Falcons host fellow strugglers Leeds at Kingston Park on Monday and Thompson says they can take heart from their opponents’ experiences last season.

“Leeds were dead and buried this time last year, and look who was relegated – Worcester,” he told BBC Newcastle.

“We’ve missed established players who are slowly getting back. I’m not happy but we’ll improve. It’s a long season.”

He added: “We’re quite a young side and we’re learning.


Newcastle lock Van der Heijden says that they need to concentrate more on set pieces and he expects improvement in the future. The 26-year-old will have to wait to make his debut, after breaking his arm during Auckland’s ITM Cup match against Tasman in November.

“I’m a set-piece orientated player,” Van der Heijden told BBC Newcastle.

“I like defence, I enjoy my line-outs. If you’re going to be a lock it’s got to be a big part of your game.”


Micky Young has stressed the importance of James Hudson in the team. Hamstring tears kept Hudson out for two months, a run of four straight league defeats, prior to his return in the 12-6 defeat of Gloucester on Sunday.

“It makes a massive difference having James Hudson back in the Falcons team,” Young told BBC Newcastle.

“It’s the type of work-rate we want and accuracy he brings to the game.”

Young added: “I didn’t see the stats but he definitely stole a few line-out balls, it’s great to have him back, his first game back and we get a win, I don’t think is any coincidence.”

The Tyneside outfit travel to last season’s champions Leicester in the Premiership on Saturday, and visit a ground upon which the north east side have failed to win since 1997.