For any new player or backroom staff member at Newcastle Falcons the initiation is simple – sing a song on the team bus after your first away game and enjoy the acclaim of fellow teammates.
And this season is no different as a whole host of new faces get set to showcase their vocal talents at the front of the bus including centre Andrew Higgins.
Higgins, 30, made the move across the Pennines from Sale Sharks last month and admits he is looking forward to the traditional post-match sing song.
“I have got quite a big repertoire of songs so I look forward to that,” said Higgins, who will bash out a tune following the Ulster friendly on Friday 24 August.
“Since joining the club I can sense a real feel good factor around the place and we have been doing weekly tasks where we split up into four teams and take part in various activities such as cake making.
“There are a lot of new faces around the club at present and we are already really starting to gel,” he added.
Moving to Tyneside on the back of a nine month stint with Sale, Higgins is itching to impress the Kingston Park hierarchy ahead of the new campaign.
Prior to his switch to Edgeley Park, the Epping-born flyer enjoyed seven seasons with Bath and a solitary campaign at Exeter Chiefs.
He said: “There are a lot of good players here and at the moment the most important thing for me is to keep working as I can so that when it comes to those pre-season friendlies I can switch into game mode without too much of a problem.
“At the moment everyone is pushing each other in order to get as much out of each other as we can.”
Yesterday the players were put through their paces with a gruelling session as pre-season training steps up a notch or two.
Dean Richards’ imminent arrival as the club’s new director of rugby has enthused the playing squad according to Higgins.
“Dean Richards has managed to maximise a teams’ potential in years gone by and I am very much looking forward to working with him,” said Higgins.
“Coaches like Dean are experts at getting the most out of players and certainly that is the way I am looking at it – I want to get the most out of myself.
“What attracted me to come here is the opportunity to do exactly that under a world-class coaching set-up.
“My time at Sale was great and I had a fantastic time working under Steve Diamond with a really good bunch of guys.
“It was a good experience and I am very glad that I went there but I got frustrated after starting the first few games of the season and then finding myself on the sideline when the World Cup lads got back.
“When you are on the sideline it can be very frustrating but all in all it was a good experience and I am glad to move on,” he Higgins, who enjoyed summer breaks to New York and Spain.
The Falcons kick-off their pre-season campaign with a festival of rugby on Saturday 11 August with a triple header taking place at Kingston Park.
Doncaster Knights and Leeds Carnegie will lock horns with the North East outfit either side of Consett Rugby’s clash with Chicago side Illinois Tornados.
On Friday 17 August the Falcons host Heineken Cup semi-finalists Edinburgh (kick-off 7.45pm).
Tickets for the home friendlies are priced at £10 adults and £5 juniors (under-16s) and are available by calling the Falcons Ticket Hotline on 0871 226 6060 or click here to purchase online.
Alternatively you can call into the Kingston Park box office during office hours.
Season Ticket Holders for the 2012-13 campaign can enjoy these fixtures free of charge as both are included in the Season Ticket package.
To snap up your 2012-13 Season Ticket please call 0871 226 6060 or click here now!