Newcastle Falcons lock Sean Robinson has told his club’s followers to ignore Brive’s position in the TOP 14 and expect a physical encounter in the European Rugby Challenge Cup quarter-final at Kingston Park on Friday night.

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While the Falcons are riding high in the Aviva Premiership in fourth place, Brive are second from bottom in their domestic competition and only climbed off the final rung last weekend with a 15-12 home win over Agen.

However, Robinson told the Falcons’ website: “Brive will be a tough nut to crack. I know they’re down near the bottom of the TOP 14, but they had a vital win last weekend and if you look at their scores over a period of time, they’re not too far away in games.

“They’re losing by two or three points on a lot of occasions; they’re not a side who roll over and, like any French team, they’ll offer a physical challenge with some big ball-carriers.”

In the distant past, French clubs have not been the best of travellers in European competition, but Robinson, who has just signed a contract extension for the Pool 1 winners, stressed: “This whole thing about the French not travelling is a bit of a myth these days and they’ve really come along in that sense.

“They’ve had an influx of international players and coaches, they’ve moved away from that stereotype of not turning up away from home and it’s definitely going to be a challenge for us. We’re expecting them to travel well; things have moved on from how they used to be with the French and it’ll definitely be a tough test.

“When you play against French teams, you sometimes have to adjust your tackle height, get off the line quickly and tackle low, and just try to stop their momentum. That’s what they’re looking for, to generate a bit of quick ball through their big carriers, and once they’re in behind, they can play a bit.

“It’s always hard as a defence and the front five boys have a massive role to play in nullifying some of their carriers.”

The 27-year-old, who played in three of the Falcons’ six Pool wins, is looking forward to returning to Kingston Park, although he admitted thoroughly enjoying last weekend’s Premiership outing at St James’ Park football ground, the venue for the two 2019 European Rugby finals.

“There was a great buzz after last weekend and hopefully we can carry that energy through to Friday night,” he said. “A home quarter-final is a great challenge and a statement of where we’re going as a club and everyone’s excited to get back out there at Kingston Park.”