There was reason to celebrate in the Mayhew household this summer as eldest of the brothers Richard got married.
Family and friends came together to see the 27-year-old Kiwi tie the knot with fiancée Jessica at a ceremony in Hawke’s Bay.
Allowed an extended break like many of the overseas players in the squad, Mayhew has been getting up to speed in training all this week while the bulk of his teammates enjoy a rare week off.
“I missed the beginning of pre-season as my fiancée Jessica and I went home to Hawke’s Bay to get married, but I am back into it now,” said Mayhew.
He added: “Myself and the other boys who were not here for the start have been kept in this week while the rest of the squad have been on holiday, but we always knew that was the schedule and it is absolutely fine.”
Buoyant over the arrival of fellow countryman Peter Russell as the Falcons’ new head coach, Mayhew admits the club is well and truly geared up for an immediate return to the Aviva Premiership.
Russell, who has already been hard at work on his Apple Mac all this week since jetting into Newcastle on Sunday evening, walks through the doors of Kingston Park with an impressive CV under his belt.
Mayhew said: “The vibe is 10 times better, and we are definitely heading places now. Hopefully that will translate onto the rugby side once we get into games, but from the early signs the players have taken it up a notch.
“We have also had some experienced heads coming into the squad, and it has contributed to a really good and feisty spirit in training.”
Reflecting on last season, Mayhew insists positives can be taken from the back end of the campaign which saw the club almost pluck themselves from the depths of relegation after victories on the road at Gloucester and London Wasps.
“It was a frustrating year for the club – the results did not go our way, but I think we showed towards the end of the season what we were capable of,” he said.
“We put some structures in place and the hope is that we can build on that,” added the Auckland-born back row.
A former Championship player with Esher, the 6ft 3” powerhouse played down claims that next season is going to be a breeze for the northeasterners, saying: “It is a very tough league with a lot of good players. It will not be as fast as the Premiership, but the physicality is right up there and the collisions will be similar.
“With us being the so-called Premiership team everybody will want to beat us, and playing against us will be a virtual cup final for the opposition every week.”
Tickets are still available for the festival of rugby on Saturday 11 August by calling the Falcons Ticket Hotline on 0871 226 6060 or click here to purchase online.
You can also snap up your 2012-13 Falcons Season Ticket by calling 0871 226 6060 or click here to get yours online!