Codling backs Falcons to build on early progress

Monday 19 June 2023 Written by: Adam

The former England lock is now in position after helping steer Oyonnax into France’s top-flight, with the hard work already underway at the Gallagher Premiership’s most northerly club.

“The biggest compliment I can pay to the staff and the players is to say I feel like I’ve been here for five years,” said Codling, whose squad have combined on-field training at Kingston Park alongside gym work at Newcastle University’s state-of-the-art sports centre.

“I’ve settled in really well – we’ve got a great group of staff and a really energised playing squad who are very keen to learn.

“We’re only just starting our second week so nobody is getting carried away, but the way the boys have connected has been outstanding.

“We’ve got a lot of new faces but everyone is really enthusiastic about coming together as a group, and it’s given us a really good base from which to push on.”

Codling’s first day in the job last Monday included a well-attended fans’ forum at which he fielded questions from the Falcons faithful, and the new head coach was blown away by the backing shown to him and the wider club.

“I was genuinely touched by the passion and energy that our supporters had towards the players and staff,” said the Londoner.

“It’s not often when you do those kinds of events that you get that real connection between the staff and the supporters, but I walked away incredibly proud to be working with a group of players and fans who care so much about the club and their community.

“It really made a big impression on me, and we’ll do everything from our side to make sure we support and represent them the best way we can.”

Asked how training will progress into week two and beyond, Codling explained: “We’ve got a great opportunity this summer because the Rugby World Cup means we have a longer pre-season, so we can break it into blocks and give a greater focus during each of those.

“Block one is all about building in lots of different ways, one of which is getting to know everybody with so many new players and coaches coming in.

“It’s laying the foundations from a physical and team perspective, and the staff have done a great job in giving the players the best environment.

“Kevin McShane and his conditioning staff have been fantastic, the analysts are bringing everything to life and myself and the other rugby coaches are layering on the information about how we want to play.”

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