Helleur hails return to action
It was a welcome return to comeptitive action for Jamie Helleur in Sunday’s LV= Cup match; as he made his first appearance in a Falcons shirt following over three months out due to injury.
The New Zealand-born Centre tore his medial ligament in the opening match of the domestic cup away to Northampton, and was forced to watch the first half of the Falcons’ season from the sidelines.
“It’s been a long way coming back and I’ve been chomping at the bit for the last few weeks while I’ve been fit. I was a little dubious at first in Sunday’s game because I always get reminded about the big tackles and what can come off as a result but I like to play positive, so you’ve just got to look forward, go out and give it your best.”
With a Leicester Tigers’ win earlier in the weekend having already decided the Falcons’ LV= Cup fate, many were billing Sunday’s match against Sale Sharks a ‘dead rubber’ contest, an idea Helleur was quick to dispute.
“Where I come from there’s never a dead game; you’ve got pride on the line and you’ve got to win all your matches for your crowd and for yourself.
“I don’t like going out there and coming second so it didn’t matter what was or wasn’t on the line.
“And guys want to play too. I’m fighting for my place in the team and every game is important to my pride so I go into every game to play my best.
After such a long spell away from the action, Sunday’s game was a particularly important occasion to 31 year-old Helleur, and not one that passed him by.
“It’s an amazing feeling to be back out there. I’ve been worried lately that I’d never get back o that pitch so it’s an amazing feeling to be out in front of my loved ones and on home turf at Kingston Park too, it’s great.”
Now in his fourth season with the Falcons, the Samoan international’s time in the North East to date has proved to be a truly transitional one for the club.
“The last two years we’ve really worked hard towards that plan we talked about and I think it’s been a positive change coming. Then Dave Walder has come in and simplified things a little bit more.
“The last three years are really starting to show now and the guys are starting to believe, so we’re starting to get results.”
The former Auckland Blues man is unsurprised by his team’s recent run of form, believing it’s no more than his team mates deserve.
“The pack are playing fantastic rugby but really they’re just getting what they deserve. When a team is on the ropes you don’t see the best out of the guys but now you’re starting to see things open and the pack is going forward and the backs are making good kicks and good space.”
“Everyone is starting to show their wares now and people have started to realise we can play; it’s always been in there we just have to get it out.”
After a six try team performance that saw him singled out for much praise from fans and coaches alike, Helleur remains determined to continue to show his own prowess on the field.”
“We’re all competing for spots and we can’t afford to have a slow start. I’m grateful to the coaches for giving me a shout though and I hope I did myself proud.”
Typically positive though, the experienced Centre was keen to enjoy the moment and continue to build on another positive result for the team.
” Winning breeds winning is what I always say and it’s going well so far. I like to play positive and that’s what our team is playing now. That positivity is picking up points and it’s great – we certainly had a very happy dressing room after Sunday’s game!”