Montgomery out to build on Exeter triumph

Tuesday 09 November 2021 Written by: Adam

The 21-year-old Cumbrian played more than an hour of the Sandy Park triumph as the Falcons dug in for a 15-14 triumph, saying: “I was obviously pretty nervous making my first Premiership start, so to go down to Exeter and turn them over was really special.

“I got 70 minutes on the field in what was a really physical game, and it’s definitely a day I’ll remember.

“It showed what we are about, which is battling for each other, and we had big periods of goal-line defence where the boys were really working together.

“We came up with the goods, and even though I’d been taken off by the time it came down to the very end it was just great to have been part of the occasion. Our graft and determination to get the job done was ultimately what saw us through, and those are all things we can build on.”

Celebrating in subdued fashion, the former England Under-19s cap revealed: “We had eight hours on a dry bus with a couple of motorway closures thrown in, so it perhaps wasn’t the party bus that people might have perceived!

“But it was still great to sit and relax with the boys after a win like that, even if it was just watching a couple of movies and having a bit of chit-chat.”

Now moving into Premiership Cup mode ahead of Saturday’s home opener against Wasps, Montgomery is determined to build on the experience gained during this season’s league appearances against the likes of Saracens and Bristol.

He said: “It’s been good this season, and nice to get the opportunities. I’ve just been trying to take it all in my stride, enjoy the chances I get and contribute to the team where I can.

“I got my first team debut in the Prem Cup down at Sale a couple of seasons ago, so it’s a competition I know and enjoy. We want to make a really positive start to the tournament and lay down a marker for the other teams, and training has gone well so far.

“We’ve rotated our coaching team for this week with James Ponton, Dave Walder and Micky Ward taking charge, and we will change it again for next week with Scott MacLeod, Mark Laycock and Nick Easter leading it.

“It’s nice just to freshen things up a bit. That’s obviously no criticism of the normal coaching set-up, but it’s just putting different people into different positions of responsibility to really test them and help them develop.

“From a playing point of view, without obviously wanting to give away anything regarding selection, we’ve put together an exciting side for this weekend which has a lot to offer, and I think people will enjoy watching this group.

“On the analysis side you tend to focus more on yourselves during the cup weeks, mainly because there’s less certainty around the opposition personnel and how much they’re going to rotate their squad. We played Wasps in the Premiership a couple of weeks ago and we have a fair idea what they’re about, but the bulk of the week will just be working on what we’re going to bring to the game.”

Part of a growing band of Cumbrians to have excelled over the Pennines, Montgomery explained his route into rugby, saying: “I started off playing football, as a lot of boys do, and didn’t take up rugby until I was 13.

“My dad is a big rugby fan who kept buying me rugby balls, so eventually I said I’d give it a go and never looked back. I started playing for Kendal under-13s through to under-15s, and then from the age of 16 I played for their first team. Up until 16 I’d also played for my school, and it was just a good balance.

“The Falcons’ presence and reputation in Cumbria has grown massively in the last five or ten years – initially because of guys like Mark Wilson. I went to the same school as Wils, which was Kirkbie Kendal, and he was just making his breakthrough into the England stuff when I was still a pupil there.

“That was obviously a big inspiration for me and a load of other young lads over in Cumbria, then in recent seasons we’ve seen the likes of Brett Connon, Jamie Blamire and guys like them coming through.

“The Falcons are definitely the number one team that kids in Cumbria look to, even though the geography means it’s a decent drive to get over to Kingston Park.”

[**Click here**][1] for tickets for Saturday’s 3pm kick-off against Wasps.