Oxford coach Tim Rumford is relishing the chance to get his team’s season underway.
“We’re really excited about the challenge in front of us on Saturday,” he said.
We’re almost like a new team and it’s my first experience of the guys. It’s going to be a big challenge playing against an established side with a plethora of international players.
“Looking at their squad they could be challenging to win League 1 this year and will be looking to win this competition.
“We’re looking to benchmark ourselves against them. There’s no pressure on us, we’re a new side with a lot of rookies and the opportunity to play a team like Newcastle is massive.”
Stanley Gene coach of the re-branded Newcastle Thunder says his club are in a much better position than last year: “Pre-season’s been brilliant for us compared to last year, being with the Newcastle Falcons has been first class. Three quarters of the players are now living up in Newcastle, which wasn’t the case last year.
“The players are looking fit and raring to go. One of our goals is to get to the final of this cup. We’re all focused on it and we’re going down there to do a job.”