Rob Andrew, says Sunday’s 32-21 win over Sale Sharks will give them a psychological boost going in to their European Challenge Cup semi-final next weekend.

The Falcons face London Irish next Sunday knowing they have secured their Guinness Premiership status for next season thanks to that win over the league leaders and current European Challenge Cup winners.

Looking at the bigger picture, Andrew said: “Today was massive given what happened with Leeds yesterday, and having played well and won we can forget about the trap door side of things and get on with finishing the season on a high,” said Andrew Newcastle Falcons director of rugby,

“Psychologically today is of huge importance going in to the European Challenge Cup semi-final against London Irish next weekend, and we now have a chance to win some silverware and get in to the Heineken Cup, which would be a massive bonus from the season.”

Andrew’s men rallied back from three points down at half time, saying afterwards: “If ever there was a time to put on a performance, today was the time.

“The players have responded brilliantly all week in training, and they’ve come out when it mattered to produce one of the performances of the season.

“I’m pleased with the way they played, I think that’s the important thing. It’s the first time we’ve scored four tries in a Premiership match this season, and we’ve done it against the league leaders when we were starting to be dragged in to something we didn’t want to be dragged in to.”

With the victory condemning Leeds to relegation, Andrew insisted that the ‘R’ word had not been uttered at Kingston Park, revealing: “I never mentioned it all season, and I’m not going to start now.”

The return to fitness of Jonny Wilkinson was one of many talking points on the day, with Andrew stating: “We had a Wilkinson/Flood/Tait axis in midfield, and then Jamie Noon came on and added something extra to that pot too.

“I’ve been waiting to see those combinations all season, and these upcoming games are the first time I’ve had all four of them to choose from. That has been a major frustration, but we have the pieces in place now and we just have to build on it.

“Jonny was pretty tired at the end, as you would expect having not played for six months, but other than the usual bangs and bruises he’s absolutely fine.”