Ally Hogg says Newcastle Falcons won’t be sucked into playing from deep against Saracens as Aviva Premiership rugby comes to Philadelphia on Saturday.
Newcastle tackle the European champions at Talen Energy Stadium, home to Major League Soccer side Philadelphia Union, as they attempt to win their fifth successive Premiership match. And Hogg, the experienced Scottish back-rower, believes his side have a formula which can bring them a prize scalp.
He said: “We’re pleased with the way things have gone with beating Worcester and Sale this season, and it’s great to see the boys’ hard work rewarded, but we know it’s still very early days.
“Playing the European champions we know will be a step up, and our next two games against Saracens and Bath will be a better barometer of where we really are.
“Sarries haven’t changed their style much, and why would you when it has been so successful?
“They’ll be very set-piece oriented, kicking it, chasing it and trying to apply pressure. It’s about us dealing with that pressure, not getting caught in their trap of playing too much inside our own half and then looking to impose our own pressure back on to them.”
Enjoying his surroundings on America’s East coast as the Falcons train at the University of Pennsylvania, Hogg said: “It’s good and it’s exciting, getting to visit different places. It’s what rugby’s all about, new experiences, and the boys are enjoying it.
“I’ve played over here before and almost got my first Scotland cap in America. We played in Portland and San Francisco and I sat on the bench as an 18-year-old, but it’s great to be back here. Hopefully it’s a good game and the supporters over here have a positive experience seeing the Aviva Premiership first hand.
“There’s a decent rugby community over here but the bulk of the population are more accustomed to American sports, and I guess rugby to some extent taps into parts of American football in terms of the contact element. I’m sure they’ll like the physical nature of it, and hopefully we can win them over with the skill, speed and strategy that rugby has to offer.”