Dream return for Falcon Beattie
April 18, 2008

Ross Beattie has spoken of his excitement and his new take on life, as he prepares for what is effectively his second debut for Newcastle Falcons at Sale Sharks on Sunday.

The former Scotland back rower forms part of the Newcastle line-up for the first time since rejoining the club from Border Reivers in the summer, revealing: "I'm 30 years old now, but I feel like an excited schoolboy about to play his first game of rugby."

Dogged by injuries, the Scottish World Cup forward said: "Physically I feel absolutely fantastic, I'm stronger than I've ever been and I'm both physically and mentally fresh. Honestly, I feel 19 again, and I just can't wait for Sunday to come round."

Whilst his enthusiasm may be infectious in anticipation of Sunday's Guinness Premiership clash, Beattie also admits to having experienced tough times, revealing: "I got told on more than one occasion that I'd never play again, but I've stuck at it and I'm just excited to be back.

"This club means a hell of a lot to me, and however I can help the team on or off the field is what I'm all about.

"I don't mind admitting I've had some very dark times during my time out of the game, and people who had seen me during those periods of my life would say that I was unrecognisable from the real me, if you like.

"But I'm just so happy to be back doing what I love, and there were a lot of times when I questioned whether or not I'd be able to make this step. I've read many books about people who have coped with difficulties and advertisy in various walks of life, and I've gained a lot of strength from that.

"A lot of their stories kind of put sport in to perspective, but then those of us who love this game will understand that sport is everything for us. Yes, people can say it's just your job, but I would still have been putting myself through all of this anguish even if the game had remained amateur. That's what it means to me.

"To have it taken away over the last 18 months has enabled me to step back and take a look at my life. On the one hand it has been a positive experience because I now have other activities that I'm involved in away from the game and new friends that I've made, but when you have to take that step back from rugby for a while you just come to realise what a huge part of your life is missing.

"When you're injured and feeling totally down in the dumps people come and say 'there are people much worse off than you', and while that is absolutely true, it's the last thing you want to hear because you just feel as if your own world has ended. Now that I've come through the other side of it, hopefully I can use that experience to help players who might find themselves in a similar situation.

"I have taken the positives from my time away from the game, I've learnt a lot about myself and I'm determined to use that to help other people and, where possible, the club.

"In having such a long time away from playing I've also been doing a lot of rugby watching at various games, and I feel like I've developed as a result because you actually learn a lot from just sitting back and watching matches from a different viewpoint."

Forming part of a new-look Falcons team this weekend, Beattie said: "There have been changes made to the side, but a lot of guys are desperate to play and it's an exciting time for those of us coming in.

"It's not a case of this being a first team or a second team, it's a Falcons team, and any team that takes the field with the Falcons crest on the shirt is going out there to do the club and the fans proud.

"Yes some players have been rested, but guys are coming in determined to seize their chance. I think it's a fantastic thing, and anyone who has come to watch us in the Guinness A League will know that many of these boys have been on fire at that level. Okay, we all know this is a step up from the Monday night stuff, but if those guys play to the level that they have been doing then it will be a heck of a game whatever happens.

"Sale have played some really good rugby this season and we're fully aware of that, but we beat them up here in the first week of the campaign and also they are coming off the back of what was a pretty bruising game down at Wasps just a few days ago.

"The Falcons players know it has been a difficult time recently for the fans with some of our results, but within the squad everybody is still very positive and the team spirit is outstanding.. We know that ultimately results are what matter, and there is a massive determination to put that side of things right."

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