MacLeod: We’ve still got more in the tank
Newcastle ran in seven tries to take their unbeaten start to the season out to five games, MacLeod saying: “It’s always good to get the win and the bonus point, and I thought our intent, our work rate and our enthusiasm was there.
“We let ourselves down with a lack of accuracy at times, especially in the first half. We tried to force things a little bit, there’s loads more to work on but it’s nice to be able to do that from a winning position.
“You’ve got to earn the right to move the ball wide, and I learned that as a player here when we were in the Championship during my first season. We were trying to play Barbarians rugby at times rather than sticking to our processes and playing in the right areas of the field, and we need to stick to the plan a bit more.”
Enjoying scrum dominance from the outset, MacLeod credited returning tight-head Rodney Ah You, among others, for a physical performance.
“Rodney came in and was dominant at scrum time, as were a lot of the boys in fairness,” said the Scot.
“Rodney has struggled at times with injuries and fitness but it was great to see him being the scrummager that everyone knows he can be, and it shows what he can do when he is firing on all cylinders.
“I also thought young Will Montgomery did well in the second row for his first start, and showed some great maturity. From my side of things he took his line-outs well and was exceptional under the kick-offs. He’s always thought of as being the lighter-weight lock but I thought his physical presence was great tonight, and that has been a big focus for him. He’s got a bit more weight onto his frame, his ball-carrying is improving and I really rate him as a prospect here.”
Crediting his team for an improvement on their previous week’s efforts as they now prepare to travel down to Cornish Pirates next Sunday, MacLeod said: “Last weekend at London Scottish was massively disappointing because we tried to force too many offloads which weren’t on, and I thought we did that again tonight in the first half.
“We managed to compose ourselves a bit later on, we got through our patterns a bit more and ultimately to get 45 points isn’t a bad effort.
“Cornish Pirates had a big win over Ealing on the opening weekend, and it’ll be a huge test down there.
“We need to be more structured and stick more closely to what we do in training, but we’re going there on the back of five wins and knowing that we still have so much more in us.
“If we play well we’d hope we’d have too much quality, but it’s going to be a big atmosphere down there and they’ll definitely make life difficult for us. We’ve just got to be patient, earn our chance to go wide and then execute when the time comes.”