Greens hold no fear at facing Falcons in Cup
ALEX Shaw says Nottingham do not fear the prospect of a showdown with Newcastle in the British and Irish Cup quarter-finals.
The Green and Whites' victory over Welsh Principality Premiership side Llandovery on Sunday is likely to set up the all-English encounter at Kingston Park in April.
But Nottingham are now playing the waiting game to learn of final confirmation of who they face in the last eight in the cross-border competition, with a number of weather-affected matches still to be completed.
For bustling No. 8 Shaw, even the mention of a return to the north-east to face the run-away Championship leaders is an alluring prospect.
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The strength of the Falcons was confirmed at the weekend when they became the first team to confirm their place in the Championship play-offs with a 47-point thrashing of the Cornish Pirates.
"Newcastle are a very good team, and it looks like they are going to finish top of our league, but they are definitely not unbeatable," said Shaw.
"If there is any team that can beat them, it's us.
"The quarter-final is a game where it is win or lose, anything can happen if we go there. We went up before Christmas full of confidence and sadly we only put in a 40 or 50 minute performance.
"We just need to put 80 minutes together and something could happen."
Before any possible trip to Newcastle comes around, Nottingham will host the Falcons at Meadow Lane Stadium on Friday, March 22.
While moving into the next round of the cup might throw up an enticing knock-out battle and comes with a financial windfall of £10,000, Shaw insists Nottingham's focus remains on the race for the Championship play-offs.
"We have a big month coming up with a lot of important games coming up in the league starting with Plymouth on Sunday," said Shaw.
"With the squad we have we are capable of putting in a big performance every week. We are lucky that we have a good squad and can rest a few players to give us every chance of doing well in both competitions."
The depth and breadth of quality was apparent when winger David Jackson crossed for the crucial fourth try that earned the East Midlands club the bonus point win against the Drovers. The 30-year-old was recalled to the side on the morning of the Cup clash after Jack Cobden was forced out through illness.
Nottingham's reserves will again be tested this week with in-form centre Tim Streather likely to be ruled out against Plymouth after hobbling off before half-time against Llandovery with a hamstring injury.