Hammersley: Focus is on ourselves
Simon Hammersley’s Newcastle Falcons are getting their own house in order rather than over-analysing Bath ahead of Friday night’s Aviva Premiership encounter.
The full-back returns as one of four changes to the side beaten at Exeter last weekend, saying: “Bath are a pretty strong all-round team with big carriers and strong backs. People like Leroy Houston are big threats who can put them on the front foot if they are not dealt with, and behind that people like Kyle Eastmond, Matt Banahan and Ollie Devoto give them a strong midfield.
“They have pace and good finishers outside of that, and on paper they are an all-round outfit. But the key for us is just to focus on what we can do, because we have threats that they will be talking about, just as they do.”
Confident his side can bounce back from their 32-17 reverse in Devon, Hammersley said: “Going down to Sandy Park it is a very difficult place to play, so we were pleased in one sense that we gave them a really good game for the first hour to 70 minutes.
“The disappointment came as a result of our defence letting us down during the closing stages, but against a team like that who keep the ball for long periods of time it is tough for the boys to keep them out.
“There were positives in the game and some things which we have needed to work on during the week, and that was just the nature of the performance. Because it has been a fairly short turnaround our training has more been focused on Bath than Exeter, and Bath do play the game differently to Exeter.”
Part of the side which defeated Bath 19-14 on January 2, the Yorkshireman said: “It was a pretty miserable day weather-wise. Personally I only got about half an hour because I got knocked out, but we matched them up front and the backs played sensible rugby in the conditions. To be fair the win was down to the forwards, and the control we had at nine and 10.
“In terms of this game I always enjoy playing at The Rec, and the boys are pretty confident with the lights and the cameras down there.
“Bath’s pitch is a bit heavier than the one we have got but I have played down there last season and also in the Premiership 7s, so I know what a good atmosphere it is and how enjoyable it can be to play there. It is a real ‘home of rugby’ kind of feel, and the boys are looking forward to it.”
Having last week welcomed back Mike Delany to the side after three and a half months out with a knee injury, he added: “Mike had a really good game in his comeback down at Exeter. He is a great tactical kicker who reads the game superbly and defends well. He is an all-round 10 who we can build on.
“At the start of the season when he was playing we just weren’t performing as a team. As a fly-half that made his job very difficult, but now with the team more gelled together it is easier for him to slot in. He showed that down at Exeter, and hopefully can do the same at Bath.”